Syrian Network for Human Rights and Every Casualty Counts address Commission of Inquiry on Syria

On 3 July 2024, the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic gave an oral update on its work to the Human Rights Council 56th Regular Session. Every Casualty Counts and the Syrian Network for Human Rights made the following joint intervention during the interactive dialogue with the Commission:

Every Casualty Worldwide intervention for Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Human Rights Council 56th Regular Session, 3 July 2024

This statement is made jointly by Every Casualty Worldwide and the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Since March 2011, SNHR has documented the killing of 231,356 individuals in Syria, including 320 killed since January this year.

The Syrian regime continues to exacerbate the suffering of the bereaved by refusing to issue death certificates except in cases which meet increasingly narrow criteria, set by the security services. Courts and officials responsible for issuing death certificates are strictly controlled by the security services.

Families who attempt to report a death caused by regime forces are required to sign false statements stating that ‘armed terrorist gangs’ killed their loved one. Furthermore, many families are afraid to seek a death certificate for loved ones killed by Syrian regime forces, because it could result in them becoming targeted by association.

The lack of death certificates has serious and long lasting consequences. Without a death certificate, surviving family members cannot claim financial support due to them, or inherit or dispose of the deceased’s property. A widow cannot be appointed as legal guardian of her children and she cannot remarry, or claim various social and legal benefits. How can the international community support widows and orphans to claim their economic and social rights in the absence of an official death certificate?

Of the 320 people killed in Syria so far this year, 63 have been killed by landmines, including nine children and 14 women. Landmine and cluster munition contamination are a serious problem in Syria, and we urge the Commission of Inquiry and the international community to dedicate further attention to this issue. Has the Commission sought and received information from parties to the conflict detailing locations of deployed landmines and cluster munitions so that these can be cleared?

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