WASHINGTON D.C.— On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish an Independent Institution of Missing Persons to determine the fate of over 130,000 forcibly disappeared or detained in Syria. The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) is thrilled that after years of campaigning by the Syrian community, the international community has taken a significant stride towards providing the necessary support and hopefully answers to victims, survivors, and the families of those missing.
“Now that a crucial and long-awaited milestone has been achieved, it is imperative to ensure its effective implementation. The United Nations member states must exert sufficient pressure to enforce this vital resolution and empower the newly established independent body, ensuring that it functions with tangible actions rather than merely existing in name,” said Omar Alshogre, SETF Director of Detainee Affairs and a former political prisoner in Syria.
The resolution received overwhelming support, with 83 member states voting in favor, while 11 voted against and 62 abstained. Among those opposing the resolution were Syria, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran. Disappointingly, many Arab countries that once stood in solidarity with the Syrian people in their struggle against Bashar Al-Assad’s brutal regime chose to abstain from voting, a direct result of recent normalization efforts in the region. Only Kuwait and Qatar demonstrated their support for this vital mechanism.
Since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution in March 2011, hundreds of thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained or missing simply for speaking the words of freedom. The Assad regime has systematically used enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention to suppress any form of dissent. As testified by key eyewitnesses like Caesar, The Gravedigger, and the Bulldozer driver, thousands have endured brutal torture and lost their lives inside Assad’s prison system, their bodies often buried in mass graves.
SETF expresses deep gratitude to Luxembourg for spearheading this resolution and extends appreciation to the 83 member states that voted in favor, demonstrating their commitment to justice, accountability, and freedom. In the face of recent normalization efforts with the criminal Assad regime, this victory serves as a poignant reminder that although “the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.”