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UN official: Arrest in Syria tantamount to disappearance

Chairman of the United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro on March 2, 2020 in Geneva [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]
Chairman of the United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro on March 2, 2020 in Geneva [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic Paulo Pinheiro has asserted that detention in Syria is equivalent to disappearance.

This came during a conference held in the Belgian capital, Brussels, on Friday, on the fate of detainees in the prisons of Bashar Al-Assad's regime.

Pinheiro stressed that the futures of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians are unknown, most of whom have been in the regime's prisons for ten years.

He explained that predictions indicate that most detainees have been executed and buried in mass graves, and others subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

READ: Thousands of Syrians await release of detainee relatives after Assad issues amnesty decree

Pinheiro added that being arrested in Syria today is tantamount to disappearing and urged the need to establish an independent mechanism with international authorities to investigate the issue of disappeared civilians.

The UN official stressed that a delay in establishing this mechanism would make it more difficult to uncover the fate of these people.

According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights data, at least 132,000 civilians are currently imprisoned by the regime; the opposition says that the number reaches hundreds of thousands.

The network indicated that the regime had released only 193 people since it announced a "pardon" on 30 April.

Since 2011, Syria has witnessed a civil war that began after the Assad regime dealt forcefully with popular protests against it that began on 15 March of the same year. This prompted millions of people to flee and seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

Categories
International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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