|Date: 16/05/2012 Time: 01:48:00 PM
The United Nations Committee against Torture is
holding its 48th session here for discussion of a report on the situation in
Syria vis a vis torture, in absence of the concerned state and without
official reply to reports and inquiries in this regard addressed to the Syrian
Syria is thus setting precedence of a country absent for discussion of
reports with serious implications and grave accusations involved.
The Chairman of the 48th session Claudio Grossman said the developments
seen in Syria prove that the call for a special session on this topic was
justified. He said the committee reviewed reports by the UN Human Rights
Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and several
organizations and societies. All reports indicate wide-scale killings of
civilians by security personnel, as well as arbitrary killings, use of live
ammunition against peaceful protestors, disproportionate use of force against
demonstrators, as well as use of heavy fire, tanks, and helicopters to quell
The official also pointed out reports of frequent attacks on hospitals and
killings of hospital patients, torturing of captives, break-ins into private
homes, arrest of even women and children, and moving those arrested from one
secret detention location to another. Reports indicated presence of tools used
in electrocution, solitary confinement cells, and signs of use of sleep
deprivation to force captives to confess to crimes they did not actually
commit. There are also testimonies to sexual abuse, rapes, inflicting burns
and injuries, and even disappearances and torture of young children.
All the information considered by the committee in its reports and actions
is supplied by international organizations, not local NGOs, which supports
credibility. The international community, he reiterated, has a responsibility
to guarantee all states mind international law and conventions regarding
torture and Human Rights, Grossman said.
Unfortunately, he remarked, the committee found nothing to dispel its
concerns or lay aside accusations of violations on the part of the Syrian
government. The only reply the Syrian regime volunteered was a challenge of
the committee's jurisdiction in considering this dossier, he lamented. It
further accused the committee of attempting to present "allegations" as
"facts" and clearly indicate the regime's stance.
All communication by the committee with Damascus is accessible online, he
said, as well as the Syrian reply.
This is the first time since 1997 for the committee to hold an irregular
review session, with the Syrian report comprehensive review originally slated
for 2014. It officially stated that it was compelled to push this discussion
forward in view of the grave situation and weight of concerns and accusations
of abuse on the part of the Assad regime.
The discussion on the Syrian dossier is to last a full day, and the
representatives would consider Syrian accountability in view of its
ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture.