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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Syria: Refugees subject to military abuse on their return to the country

Amnesty International accuses Syrian security forces of harassing and subjecting returning refugees to torture, arbitrary detention, disappearance and sexual violence, noting that “no part of Syria is safe to return to.”

In a report to which Lusa had access, released this Tuesday and based on interviews with 41 Syrians, “serious human rights violations committed by the Syrian Government against refugees who returned to Syria” are documented, accused of disloyalty or terrorism, for having left the country. country during the war.

In addition to the human rights violations committed against 66 returnees, including 13 children, Amnesty International records five cases of detained returnees who died in custody, with the fate of 17 victims of “enforced disappearances” uncertain, the organization notes.

Military hostilities may have eased, but the Syrian government’s propensity for gross human rights violations has not diminished. Torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary or illegal detentions, which have forced many Syrians to seek asylum abroad, are as frequent as ever ”.said the Amnesty International researcher on the rights of refugees and migrants, Marie Forestier, quoted in the report “Go to your death.”

Amnesty International added that Syrian authorities have publicly encouraged refugees to return home, while several host countries have begun to reconsider the protection they offer Syrians and have been pressuring them to return home, but it warned that the simple fact that they have left the country is enough to put these people at risk.

“Any government that claims Syria is now safe is deliberately ignoring the horrifying reality on the ground, leaving refugees once again in fear for their lives,” said Marie Forestier, who urges host countries to grant the status of refugee. refugee and suspend repatriations.

One document includes first-person testimonies of cases of rape, including children, torture, and other human rights violations.

Amnesty International stresses that there are no safe zones in the country and that women are at as much risk as men when they return to Syria, “so they must be afforded the same level of protection.”

People who have left Syria since the beginning of the conflict are at real risk of persecution upon their return, either for perceptions of their political views or simply as punishment for having fled the country. “, said the organization.

Taking into account the scenario denounced, Amnesty International draws the attention of those who find themselves in this situation.

“We call on the Syrian authorities to guarantee the protection of returnees and put an end to the human rights violations they suffer, as well as to guarantee the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of all people in Syria. Countries hosting Syrian refugees must continue to provide refuge and ensure permanent protection against the atrocities of the Syrian government, ”urged Marie Forestier, in the same report.

Amnesty International documents 14 cases of sexual violence committed by the security forces, including seven cases of rape, committed against five women, an adolescent and a five-year-old girl, violence perpetrated at border posts or in detention centers during interrogations of people who they were returning. to the country.

The report also gives an account of the arbitrary or illegal detention of 13 women and 10 children. Five children were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.

“In total, Amnesty International has documented 59 cases of men, women and children who were arbitrarily detained after returning to Syria,” says the document released today, which also warns of 33 cases of “returns subjected to torture or other ill-treatment during detention. or interrogation ”.

There were also “27 cases of forced disappearance”, in five of which families were informed that people ended up dying while in custody, while “the fate of 17 people is unknown”.

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