OHCHR / SYRIA CIVILIAN CASUALTIES INTERVIEW

Preview Language:   Original
30-Jun-2022 00:04:24
UN Human Rights Office estimates more than 306,000 civilians were killed over ten years in Syria conflict. OHCHR

Available Language: English
Type
Language
Format
Acquire
/
English
Other Formats
Description
STORY: OHCHR / SYRIA CIVILIAN CASUALTIES INTERVIEW
TRT: 04:24
SOURCE: OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/NATS


DATELINE: 28 JUNE 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesca Marotta, Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Section, UN Human Rights (OHCHR):
“So we resumed our work on this issue, and we are now able to produce, we were now able to produce what we think is a reliable estimate of civilian deaths in ten years of conflict from March 2011 to March 2021. The work, the findings are important for two levels. First of all, for the first time, we are able to provide a comprehensive picture of all documented deaths that occurred in the conflict. Compared to previous reports, we have been able to provide a better analysis of these documented deaths. We now know who were men, who were women, who were adults, who were the children who died in the conflict, in which given governorates they died, what type of weapons caused their deaths, and what actors or groups allegedly did so.”
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesca Marotta, Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Section, UN Human Rights (OHCHR):
“For the first time, we were able to produce an estimate of civilian deaths in the Syrian conflict. Beyond the deaths that have been individually documented so far. This has been possible by applying statistical estimation techniques, which led us to conclude that an additional 163,537 civilians are estimated to have died. What this means is that the total civilian deaths are estimated to be 306,887, with a credible interval of 95 percent, and this is the double is double the number of what has been possible to document so far.”
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesca Marotta, Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Section, UN Human Rights (OHCHR):
“So, we are talking here about hundreds and thousands of records gathered by different organizations. So obviously, some of the challenges related to reviewing them, organizing them, ensuring they could be comparable and also identify records of deaths that may actually refer to the same person, therefore de-duplicate them before a statistical analysis could be applied.”
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesca Marotta, Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Section, UN Human Rights (OHCHR):
“One gap was with regard to records that had inconsistent or contradictory information, and as I said, these were not used to count the documented deaths. The second gap related to deaths of individuals that may have never been recorded. And this is not something unique to the Syria conflict. It is quite frequent that in conflict times it may be very difficult to document all casualties in real-time because organizations, and the UN itself, face many challenges, including access to territories where the deaths or the incidents occur.”
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Francesca Marotta, Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Section, UN Human Rights (OHCHR):
“It's in order to fill these gaps that we applied to additional statistical estimation techniques. The first technique is called imputation, and this was used to account for the missing data in documented records by using statistical models. For example, if a record is lacking information on whether a casualty is a man or a woman, this technique would enable to reliably fill in this missing information based on a comparison of other documented deaths. Second, this well-validated technique that is called Multiple Systems Estimation, MSE, was applied to estimate the number of deaths for which records were missing altogether. So, these are the deaths that were never documented or were not documented so far. This technique, by analyzing patterns of documentation by different sources, could lead to estimating how many persons are likely to have died, although their death has not yet been documented. And this estimate obviously has a degree of uncertainty but is sufficiently accurate to produce the figures that I referred to before.”


STORYLINE:
UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) estimates more than 306,000 civilians were killed over ten years in Syria conflict.

The UN Human Rights Office published a report that, following a rigorous assessment and statistical analysis of available data on civilian casualties, estimates that 306,887 civilians were killed in Syria between 1 March 2011 and 31 March 2021 due to the conflict.

Francesca Marotta is the Chief of Methodology, Education and Training Section at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“So, we resumed our work on this issue, and we are now able to produce, we were now able to produce what we think is a reliable estimate of civilian deaths in ten years of conflict from March 2011 to March 2021. The work, the findings are important for two levels. First of all, for the first time, we are able to provide a comprehensive picture of all documented deaths that occurred in the conflict. Compared to previous reports, we have been able to provide a better analysis of these documented deaths. We now know who were men, who were women, who were adults, who were the children who died in the conflict, in which given governorates they died, what type of weapons caused their deaths, and what actors or groups allegedly did so,” she said

The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, referred to 143,350 civilian deaths that various sources have individually documented with detailed information, including at least their full name, date, and location of death.

“For the first time, we were able to produce an estimate of civilian deaths in the Syrian conflict. Beyond the deaths that have been individually documented so far. This has been possible by applying statistical estimation techniques, which led us to conclude that an additional 163,537 civilians are estimated to have died. What this means is that the total civilian deaths are estimated to be 306,887, with a credible interval of 95 percent, and this is the double is double the number of what has been possible to document so far,” she said.

The work of civil society organizations and the UN in monitoring and documenting conflict-related deaths is key in helping these families and communities establish the truth, seek accountability, and pursue effective remedies.

This analysis will also give a clearer sense of the severity and scale of the conflict.

“So, we are talking here about hundreds and thousands of records gathered by different organizations. So obviously, some of the challenges related to reviewing them, organizing them, ensuring they could be comparable, and also identify records of deaths that may actually refer to the same person, therefore de-duplicate them before a statistical analysis could be applied,” Marotta said.

Despite these challenges, consistent and systematic work has documented casualties on the ground for over a decade.

The data used for the report rely on the courageous work of such individuals and groups.

To produce the report, the Office used eight sources of information about different periods across the ten years covered.

These include the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, the Center for Statistics and Research–Syria, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Violations Documentation Center, Syria Shuhada records; Government records; and records of the UN Human Rights Office itself.

“One gap was with regard to records that had inconsistent or contradictory information, and as I said, these were not used to count the documented deaths. The second gap related to deaths of individuals that may have never been recorded. And this is not something unique to the Syria conflict. It is quite frequent that in conflict times, it may be very difficult to document all casualties in real-time because organizations, and the UN itself, face many challenges, including access to territories where the deaths or the incidents occur,” she said.

“So, it's in order to fill these gaps that we applied to additional statistical estimation techniques. The first technique is called imputation, and this was used to account for the missing data in documented records by using statistical models. For example, if a record is lacking information on whether a casualty is a man or a woman, this technique would enable to reliably fill in this missing information based on a comparison of other documented deaths. Second, this well-validated technique that is called Multiple Systems Estimation, MSE, was applied to estimate the number of deaths for which records were missing altogether. So, these are the deaths that were never documented or were not documented so far. This technique, by analyzing patterns of documentation by different sources, could lead to estimating how many persons are likely to have died, although their death has not yet been documented. And this estimate obviously has a degree of uncertainty but is sufficiently accurate to produce the figures that I referred to before,” she said.
Series
Category
Geographic Subjects
Creator
OHCHR
Alternate Title
unifeed220630j
Asset ID
2899131