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HRW: Returning refugees face grave abuses in Syria

Syrian refugee patients from the makeshift Rukban camp, which lies in no-man's-land off the border between Syria and Jordan in the remote northeast, cross over to visit a UN-operated medical clinic immediately on the Jordanian-side for checkups, on March 1, 2017. Conditions in the Rukban camp deteriorated sharply after Jordan sealed its border almost a year prior, following a cross-border jihadist attack that killed seven Jordanian border guards in June 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images)
Syrian refugee patients from the makeshift Rukban camp, which lies in no-man's-land off the border between Syria and Jordan in the remote northeast, cross over to visit a UN-operated medical clinic immediately on the Jordanian-side for checkups, on March 1, 2017. [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday accused the Syrian regime and its allied militias of committing grave human rights violations including torture, extra-judicial killings and kidnappings against Syrian refugees who had voluntarily returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan.

A 72-page report "'Our Lives Are Like Death': Syrian Refugee Returns from Lebanon and Jordan," found that Syria is not safe for return. Among 65 returnees or family members interviewed, Human Rights Watch documented 21 cases of arrest and arbitrary detention, 13 cases of torture, 3 kidnappings, 5 extrajudicial killings, 17 enforced disappearances, and 1 case of alleged sexual violence.

HRW said a further 28 interviewees who returned to Daraa described living in an insecure environment characterised by arrests at checkpoints, kidnappings, racketeering, bribery and extortion, assassinations, pervasive lawlessness and lack of accountability.

The report comes as countries in the region and beyond continue to promote returns. Denmark has set a dangerous precedent from within the European Union by removing the "temporary protection" status of people from Damascus and Damascus Countryside.

In a report issued last month, Amnesty International condemned the abuse suffered by dozens of refugees who had returned to Syria at the hands of the regime's security forces, including arbitrary detention, torture and rape.

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Categories
HRWInternational OrganisationsJordanLebanonMiddle EastNewsSyria
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