Syria: Enforced disappearance of Ms. Abeer Wanas

Urgent Appeal

SYR 003 / 0613 / OBS 057
Enforced disappearance / Fear for torture
June 25, 2013

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:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest and enforced disappearance of Ms. Abeer Wanas, a member of the Syrian Network for Human Rights in Syria/Aleppo.

According to the information received, on June 18, 2013, Ms. Abeer Wanas was arrested by a patrol of Syrian Security Forces at her place of residence in Aleppo - Nile Street - near Della roundabout. Legal grounds of her arrest are not known to date. While according to some reports Ms. Abeer Wanas would be held in the offices of the political security branch in Aleppo, so far the Syrian authorities have failed to confirm her detention and disclose her exact whereabouts, and accordingly to allow her access to her lawyer, family or to a doctor.

It is feared that the arrest of Ms. Abeer Wanas is related to her monitoring and documentation of human rights violations in Aleppo.

Given the appalling situation and frequent use of torture in Syria, the Observatory expresses its utmost concerns about the safety and security of Ms. Abeer Wanas, 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 Ms. Abeer Wanas, to release her immediately and unconditionally, and to put an end to all acts of harassment, torture and ill-treatments against her and all human rights defenders in Syria.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Syrian authorities, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Abeer Wanas as well as all human rights defenders in Syria;

ii. Take prompt action in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of Ms. Abeer Wanas and to unconditionally release her, as her arrest seems to solely aim at sanctioning her 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.


· H.E. Bashar al-Assad, President, Presidential Palace, al Rashid Street, Damascus, Syria Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 3410;
· Mr. Imad al-Fraij, Minister of Defence, Ministry of Defence, O mayyad Square, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 223 7842 / +963 11 666 2460;
· Mr. Tayseer Qella Awad, Minister of Justice, Mazeh “Otstrad”, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 666 2460;
· Mr. Wallid Mu’allim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 7620 / +963 11 214 6253;
· H.E. Mr. Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations in Geneva, International Centre Cointrin (ICC), Bloc D (7th Floor), Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 42 75, Email:;
· Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Brussels, 3 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 648 14 85 / +32 2 646 40 18, Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Syrian Arabic Republic in your respective country.

Read more