UN: Syrian families plagued by disappearances

2016-02-13 12:47
A Syrian girl makes her way through debris following reported air strikes in Hammuriyeh on the outskirts of Damascus. (Abdulmonam Eassa. AFP)

A Syrian girl makes her way through debris following reported air strikes in Hammuriyeh on the outskirts of Damascus. (Abdulmonam Eassa. AFP)

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Rabat - UN experts have raised the alarm over enforced disappearances in Syria, which has been ravaged by conflict for nearly five years and where they said families have "no recourse".

Houria es-Slami, chairperson of a working group on disappearances, told a media conference in Morocco: "We remain very concerned about Syria where there is a practice of enforced disappearance".

She denounced the "impossibility for families to have redress mechanisms", preventing them from referring cases to the group.

Another member of the panel, Ariel Dulitzky, called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Displaced millions

"We believe crimes against humanity are being committed and we hope the UN Security Council will refer this to the International Criminal Court," based in the Hague.

Amnesty in November accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime of benefiting from an "insidious black market in which family members desperate to find out the fates of their disappeared relatives are ruthlessly exploited for cash".

Amnesty said nearly 60 000 civilians were believed to have "disappeared" since Syria's conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

The war in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 260 000 people and displaced millions.

Assad dismissed UN accusations earlier that war crimes had been committed in his country, calling the claims "politicised".

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