Relatives with photographs of detainees who disappeared in Assad regime prisons, Geneva, February 2017 (Dylan Collins/Al Jazeera)
The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution for an investigation into the fate of more than 130,000 Syrians who have “disappeared” since the March 2011 rising against the Assad regime.
Responding to appeals by families of the missing, the Assembly voted 89-11, with 62 abstentions, on Thursday for an independent inquiry.
Among those who voted No alongside the Assad regime were Russia, China, Belarus, North Korea, Cuba, and Iran.
Historic – The UN General Assembly just voted to establish a new body that will work to reveal the fate of over 100,000 people missing or forcibly disappeared in #Syria.
Yes – 83
No – 11
Abstained – 62
Massive respect to the Syrian human rights activists who led this work. pic.twitter.com/mrXBKXTyF6
— kristyan benedict (@KreaseChan) June 29, 2023
Many tens of thousands of Syrian civilians have been executed, tortured to death, or perished from poor conditions in regime prisons during the 12-year repression of the protests for rights and reforms.
Regime personnel have continued to torture, sexually abuse, and “disappear” refugees who dare return to the country.
The Luxembourg-led resolution notes that since 2011, amid regime obstruction, “little progress has been achieved in alleviating the suffering of families by providing answers as to the fate and whereabouts of all missing persons“.
An Independent Institution of Missing Persons in the Syrian Arab Republic, under UN auspices, will “clarify the fate and whereabouts of all missing persons … and to provide adequate support to victims, survivors, and the families of those missing”.
Victims, survivors, and the families of the missing will be represented in the investigative body. UN Secretary General António Guterres will present terms of reference within 80 working days.
The Assad regime’s ambassador, Bassam Sabbagh, insisted that the resolution is “politicized” and a “flagrant interference in our internal affairs”.
He defied reality with the claim that the regime has processed all claims of disappearances and carried out “independent investigations in accordance with Syrian law and on the basis of available information and resources”.