At the end of October 2016, the human rights record of the Syrian government for the period 2011-2015 will be examined in the context of the Universal Periodical Review, a State-driven process conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
EuroMed Rights and its Syrian partners worked together to produce a joint UPR contribution report (available in English and in Arabic) analysing the Syrian situation in order to advocate jointly on the Syrian government’s blatant violations of its international commitments. The report was formally presented and discussed with a number of UN member States prior to the formal UPR examination of Syria.
The report describes the scope of the Syrian government’s international commitments, including recommendations accepted over the previous UPR review which were not implemented, as well as a critical review of institutional reforms undertaken since 2011. The report also documents a number of gross violations committed by the Syrian government, including the use of prohibited weapons and toxic gas against civilians, illegal sieges imposed on entire communities and the widespread use of lethal torture against persons in custody under governmental jurisdiction.
“The extent of gross violations committed over the last five years in Syria cannot possibly be covered in one contribution report to the Universal Periodic Review”, said Husam Al Katlaby, Executive Director of Violations Documentation Center in Syria and spokesperson of the coalition, in a statement presented in early October in Geneva during an informal consultation with UN member States. “The Syrian people is losing hope in international justice, which could pave the way for more violence. We demand that international mechanisms be set in place in order to compel the Syrian government to end these violations and with the view to prosecute perpetrators of international crimes”, Al Katlaby added.
Information included in the joint contribution report is entirely based on data gathered by Syrian organisations of the coalition. During the process, none of the organisations was able to conduct consultations with the Syrian government, which forbids any independent human rights organisations to operate in Syria and targets human rights defenders by all means, including arbitrary arrests, extra-judiciary killing and a wide range of persecutions.
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