International backers of negotiations to end the conflict in Syria should ensure that any transitional process includes a robust independent body to investigate thousands of “disappeared,” Human Rights Watch said today. The United Nations designated August 30 as the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances to raise awareness about enforced disappearances around the world.
An independent institution in charge of investigating the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared, as well as unidentified human remains and mass graves in Syria, should be created immediately, Human Rights Watch said. It should have a broad mandate to investigate, including by reviewing all official records and interviewing any official, and be backed with international political and material support.
“Syria will not be able to move forward if negotiations fail to adequately address the horrors of detention and disappearance,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This should not be ignored. Without progress, each day that passes will likely see more of the disappeared tortured or executed.”