In Syria, victims’ groups are a force to be reckoned with

5 April 2023
Since 2021, Syrian victim associations have organized to demand clarification on the fate of the missing in their country. They have grown to be the leading force in the quest for justice.

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution and the conflict that followed in 2011, tens of thousands of people have gone missing in Syria, constituting a major humanitarian crisis.

In the absence of a formal peace settlement, and despite China and Russia blocking the UN Security Council from referring the issue to the International Criminal Court, intensive advocacy efforts by Syrian civil society and victims’ associations have sought to push the justice and accountability agenda forward.

In February 2021, the Truth and Justice Charter was created by five Syrian civil society organizations. Now 10-members strong, it has progressively become the leading force in the fight for justice and truth.

Last December, the UNSG met with representatives of the Charter, expressed his admiration for their efforts and stressed the need for all arbitrarily detained Syrians to be released, and for the fate of the missing to be clarified. He also reiterated his call on Member States to consider establishing the new institution.

Survivors’ and victims’ central role

These victim-led efforts have significantly influenced the international agenda on the issue of the missing and helped enhance the centrality of the role of survivors and victims and their families in developing solutions.

Impunity Watch, a partner of GAAMAC, supports whole-heartedly this process: “To capitalise on the international momentum to address the fate of the missing, Impunity Watch will remain committed to providing assistance to Syria’s victims to enhance their capabilities and participation in justice efforts, while ensuring their autonomy and putting their voices and demands at the centre. We’re also drawing lessons from the experience of the Syrian victims to support our work in other contexts. For example, we are highlighting the successful advocacy efforts of the Charter to inform future action on the issue of the missing in Iraq.”

This article was originally published by Impunity Watch. Read the full-length article here. Photo: Paul Wagner / The Syria Campaign

Make sure you do not miss any updates! Sign up to our bimonthly newsletter.

Recent posts