The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Syria.
Description of the situation:
According to the information received, Mr. Arnous was arrested on October 7, 2012 at his place of residence, located in the District of Dummar, by members of the Military Security Branch of the Mezzeh district of Damascus.
He was reportedly last seen in February 2013 in a military hospital of the Syrian capital bearing serious signs of torture, and would have then been transferred to another unknown military hospital. So far, the Syrian authorities have failed to disclose his whereabouts.
Given the appalling situation and frequent use of torture in Syria, the Observatory expresses its utmost concerns about the safety and security of Mr. Arnous, as well as about the probable lack of access to proper medical care.
The Observatory calls upon the Syrian authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Mr. Arnous, to release him immediately and unconditionally, to put an end to all acts of harassment, torture and ill-treatments against him and all human rights defenders, and to conform in all circumstances with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1998) as well as international human rights instruments ratified by Syria.
Please write to the Syrian authorities, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Arnous as well as all human rights defenders in Syria;
ii. Take prompt action in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of Mr. Arnous and to unconditionally release him, as his disappearance seems to solely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;
iii. Ensure in all circumstances that Syrian human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances;
iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as with Article 12.2 “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic.
· President, Bashar al-Assad, Presidential Palace, al Rashid Street, Damascus, Syria Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 3410;
· Minister of Defence, Imad al-Fraij, Ministry of Defence, O mayyad Square, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 223 7842;
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Tayseer Qella Awad, Mazeh “Otstrad”, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 666 2460;
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wallid Mu’allim, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 7620;
· Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to UN in Geneva, 72 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 42 75, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Embassy the Syrian Arab Republic in Brussels, 1 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 554 19 22; Fax: +32 2 648 14 85.
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Syrian Arabic Republic in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, May 2, 2013
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29