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#HumansNotNumbers: Syrian activists speak out against torture

Syrian survivors, families of victims and other activists staged a demonstration against torture and forced detentions of thousands of people in Syria in The Hague on 22 June 2022.

The action took place ahead of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26 June).

Families and activists carried placards showing pictures of loved ones who died under torture, calling for justice for victims of the Syrian regime and urging for an international mechanism to reveal the truth about the country’s disappeared.

Since the start of the popular uprising in 2011, around 150,000 individuals, including women and children, remain detained or forcibly disappeared in Syria. Tens of thousands experienced shocking torture, while others have been killed, as highlighted in the recently leaked Tadamon massacre video.

The families of the victims have been an integral part on the road to justice, including lobbying for an effective international body to address the issue of the missing.















“Establishing an international mechanism with a humanitarian approach to reveal the fate of the missing and forcibly disappeared is an investment in peace in Syria. It is a top priority, especially after the issuance of the so-called ‘amnesty law’ in Syria and the confusion that resulted from it, which increased the suffering of all Syrian families who have their relatives detained or forcibly disappeared in the prisons of the Syrian regime” - Husam Balkhi/ Caesar Families Associations


“The role of the families of the forcibly disappeared in the formation of an international, independent, and impartial mechanism to reveal the fate of the kidnapped loved ones and the places where they are hidden is a guarantee of the effectiveness and continuity of this mechanism after its formation and putting into action” - Khalil Al haj Saleh/ Coalition of Families of those kidnapped by ISIS (Massar)

“Not knowing the fate of our beloved ones (as families of detainees and families of forcibly disappeared), is causing severe psychological pain, which is defined as a kind of torture by the International Convention for the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance. We live in endless waiting, waiting for news of any kind” - Farah Alraes/ Families for Freedom












The action was organised by the Truth and Justice Charter (the Association of Detainees and the Missing in Sednaya Prison, the Ta’afi Initiative, Coalition of Families of those kidnapped by ISIS (Massar), Families for Freedom, and the Caesar Families Association) in collaboration with the Synergy/Hevdestî Association for Victims in North and East Syria, the General Union of Detainees, Release Me, the Association of Adra Prison, and Families for Truth and Justice.

The action took place outside the Peace Palace in The Hague - the home of the International Court of Justice – and was supported by Impunity Watch and PAX.

Photos: © Impunity Watch 

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