30th of August: International Day of the Disappeared30 August 2023
On the 30th of August, the International Day of The Disappeared, IHL Centre's Syria Regional Desk will continue acting and advocating for the rights of missing persons and their families.
On the International Day of the Disappeared, the IHL Centre stands united its commitment to raising awareness about the plight of missing persons and their families around the world. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the countless individuals who have vanished under tragic circumstances, leaving their loved ones in agony and uncertainty.
Earlier this year, the IHL Centre published a Report advocating for the establishment of an international missing persons mechanism in Syria by drawing on lessons learned from the experiences in Lebanon. We welcome the decision of the General Assembly to create the Independent Institution on Missing Persons in Syria, recognising it as a vital step toward upholding the rights of victims and underscoring the importance of international cooperation and solidarity.
The IHL Centre emphasises that the success of the Institution hinges upon the meaningful and sustainable engagement of victims and survivors. Families of missing persons play a crucial role in advocating for the rights of missing persons and contribute to efficient and sustainable practices in data management, tracing, and identification. Families have the right to know of the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and their participation is essential to foster transparency, restore trust, and alleviate suffering.
It is imperative that both States and armed groups respect the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights to prevent further persons from going missing. This includes accounting for the deceased, upholding the rights of persons in detention by enabling regular communication with their families, and actively tracing persons who have gone missing. Arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance are prohibited under all branches of international law.