New UN Drive to Find Missing Loved Ones Gives Syrian Families Hope Amidst Tragedy


IDLIB, Syria (AFP) In rebel-held Idlib, northwestern Syria, the United Nations General Assembly has voted to create an independent international body tasked with determining the fate of more than 130,000 missing people. Cautiously hopeful to investigate missing persons in the Northwest. In 2011 the Syrian civil war began. Among them is Umm Mohammed, whose husband disappeared after being arrested by Syrian soldiers during anti-government demonstrations in Damascus in 2013.

The resolution was passed with 83 votes in favor, 11 against and 62 abstentions, drawing support from Western countries, including the United States, but opposed by Syria, Russia, Iran and China. The facility will operate in both government and rebel-held areas and collect information from families, Syrian civil society organizations, whistleblowers and UN agencies. It will also conduct investigations into authorities in Syrian government and rebel-held areas.

The establishment of this International Search Authority is an important step in addressing the plight of Syria’s missing persons. The family has been living in painful anxiety for years and is uncertain about the fate of their loved ones. Many of the missing are believed to have been detained in government prisons or arrested by non-state armed groups, while others may have been buried in mass graves. The purpose of this facility is to gather information from various sources in hopes of providing answers and bringing closure to the family.

Hani Megary, a member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Abuses in Syria, established in 2011, said the intensive work on missing persons has led to whistleblowers coming forward and scattered data from human rights groups. expressed hope that it would be useful for the collection of Torture and enforced disappearances in Syrian prisons have been brought to light in recent years by the release of so-called Caesar photographs and testimonies of exiles. The establishment of an international organization to investigate missing persons could set a precedent for solving similar problems in other conflict-affected areas. The plight of families who have lost loved ones extends beyond Syria, with Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen facing similar painful anxieties. Families of missing persons in these countries hope that the establishment of this agency will pave the way for their cases to be dealt with.

Families like Umm Muhammad cling to a sliver of hope, but remain wary of possible information from Syrian authorities. President Bashar al-Assad has denied detaining political prisoners and has frequently labeled rebels terrorists. Since Syria does not extradite its citizens for investigative purposes, working directly with Syrian authorities could be difficult.

A vote to create an international investigative agency gives new hope to families desperate for answers about their missing loved ones. This is an important step in addressing suffering and human rights abuses in Syria and could serve as a model for addressing similar issues globally.