High-level Panel Discussion on Human Rights in Syria - Informal Plenary Meeting

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02-Mar-2021 03:32:49
High-level panel discussion to brief on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic - Informal meeting of the plenary, 75th session.

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Representatives of civil society briefed the General Assembly during a high-level panel discussion of the human rights situation in Syria, in particular the torture and disappearance of detainees. The informal plenary meeting follows the publication of a report by the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which concluded that thousands of detainees have been subjected to “unimaginable suffering” during the war, including torture, death and sexual violence against women, girls and boys. The Security Council tasked the commission with investigating and recording all violations of international law since the start of the conflict.

The three-person panel investigated more than 100 detention facilities in Syria. Their findings are based on more than 2,500 interviews over the past 10 years. They concluded that none of the warring parties in Syria have respected the rights of detainees. Tens of thousands of people remain unaccounted for, missing without a trace.

The high-level panel was moderated by Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York. Brands Kehris also presented OHCHR's role in documentation, accountability, and engagement with key counterparts including the United Nations, humanitarian partners and accountability mechanisms such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI), the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), the Syrian Government, and civil society.

The high-level panel was comprised of the following six panelists from the COI and civil society:
• Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair, COI
• Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner, COI
• Hanny Megally, Commissioner, COI
• Mazen Darwish, President, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression;
• Sabah Hallaq, Syrian League for Citizenship
• Wafa Moustafa, Families for Freedom.
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