Kuwait 'gravely concerned' over the fate of forcibly disappeared Syrians

Kuwait 'gravely concerned' over the fate of forcibly disappeared Syrians
Tens of thousands of people have gone missing during the war in Syria. Many of them were arbitrarily detained by the Syrian regime and their fate remains unknown.
2 min read
20 March, 2022
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have gone missing over the course of the civil war, including many detained by the Syrian regime. [Muhmmad Al-Najjar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty]

Kuwait has expressed "grave concern" for the fate of those who have gone missing throughout the war in Syria, the Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA reported on Friday.

The remarks were voiced during a speech on Friday by Kuwait's Permanent Representative to the UN, Jamal Al-Ghunaim, at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which runs from February 28 to April 1st.

"Kuwait urges the UN Secretary General to put an end to the practice of arbitrary detention as well as enforced disappearance of tens of thousands of people, to respond to the urgent calls of families across Syria who seek to reveal the fate and whereabouts of the missing," al-Ghunaim stated, highlighting the case of missing children in particular.

International law states that parties to armed conflict should take all possible measures to determine the fate of missing people and to communicate their with families during the search process.

However, the whereabouts of tens of thousands detained by the Syrian regime since the 2011 uprising against dictator Bashar al-Assad remain unknown. 

The US Treasury Department estimates that at least 14,000 of those prisoners were tortured to death. A military defector, code-named Caesar, smuggled nearly 60,000 photographs out of Syria showing thousands of detainees killed by the regime. 

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Earlier this month, two secret mass graves were discovered in Syria, possibly containing thousands of bodies. The discovery added to the evidence that many of those forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime have been executed. 

All parties to the conflict in Syria have been accused of kidnapping, arbitrarily arresting and 'disappearing' people.

Several participants to the ongoing session of the UNHRC have voiced concerns for Syria, which entered on March 15 the eleventh year of its civil war. 

Since the uprising against Assad began in 2011, an estimated 500,000 lives have been lost, over 5 million Syrians have been made refugees and an additional six million Syrians have become internally displaced.