Press release Turkey
May 3rd 2020
The Syrian regime and the rest of the parties should release prisoners to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus
Human rights Guardians stated that all parties to the conflict in Syria, especially the Syrian regime, which has the most violating cases of arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, and torture, should immediately release and without any restrictions or conditions prisoners, politicians, human rights defenders, and prisoners who may be at risk of getting infected by Covid-19 virus Like elderly and sick people with weak immunity and chronic diseases.
Where tens of thousands of prisoners, detainees and forcibly disappeared persons are detained in the prisons of the Syrian regime and the security branches, and they suffer from improper, unclean and overcrowded conditions of detention, without hygiene conditions, treatment is not provided and diseases such as scabies and cholera are spread.
The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria also stated in its report “out of sight, out of mind” that prisoners and detainees are at risk of death at any moment. Other than beatings, torture, and inhumane conditions such as severe overcrowding, lack of food and clean water, lack of medical care, many died from diarrhea or diseases that are treatable, others have been killed by medical personnel in military hospitals, others have received limited treatment, and so are the Tahrir al-Sham prisons, opposition factions, and Kurdish forces prisons.
Suleiman Issa, executive director of Human Rights Guardians, says
The UN envoy had to urge all parties to release the detainees rather than focus on the mini-committee and return to negotiations, especially since the risk of a pandemic of Covid-19 could spread quickly among detainees due to overcrowding, lack of spacing, poor hygiene, poor health services and all government-held detention centers the parties.
Arbitrary detention and consequently enforced disappearance constituted a widespread violation since the early days of the peaceful movement. The Syrian regime and its repressive tools were among the most violating, practicing systematic and widespread disappearance and detention against all opponents, political activists, and relief workers, and after that other parties entered the conflict As the number of detainees reached more than 100 enforced disappearances and missing persons according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights only 138 in April 2020 and Human Rights Guardians have documented 3200 enforced disappeared and missing persons according to internationally accepted standards of data collection and participated with the International Committee for Missing persons ICMP and documented the poor conditions of detention the detainees suffered, such as torture, beatings and systematic abuse in addition to overcrowding in detention centers, detainees, malnutrition, and the scarcity of contaminated drinking water and food contaminated with the spread of infectious diseases and treatment.
The organization therefore urgently recommends the following
- All parties release political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders
- Early release of elderly and sick people who are likely to get infected and lose their lives.
- All parties, especially the Syrian regime, to comply with the World Health Organization and international agencies and organizations to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of the spread of Covid-19.
- Prison administrations follow well-studied and practical regulations that include urgent preventive measures, starting with the imposition of hygiene and separation between detainees, ending with the provision of medical treatment for all, the provision of water and clean food, and the introduction of sterilizers.
Antakya / Hatay / Turkey May 3rd 2020