A seminar was held on Monday by the London-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in partnership with the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council’s 39th session in Geneva.
The side-event shed light on the arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances recorded among the Palestinians of Syria. A plethora of academics and researchers were in attendance. The session was moderated by human rights activist Olzhas Toleugazin.
Speaking at the inaugurating address, AGPS’s CEO, Ahmad Hosain, briefed the audience on the calamitous situation of the Palestinians of Syria, 1,700 among whom have been secretly held in Syrian dungeons, where at least 556 others have also been tortured to death.
Lawyer and former detainee in Syria Wael Al-Zahrawi narrated his tragic experience in Syrian locks ups and the cruel torture tactics pursued by the Syrian authorities against men, women, and minors held behind prison bars.
Al-Zahrawi said detainees tortured in Syrian jails often return to their cells with one or two organs being taken out of their bodies, in a crime the like of which has never been recorded throughout history.
Wrapping up the seminar, CEO of Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) Yousef Wehbe underscored the fragile legal status of the Palestinians of Syria and the fallouts of the “protection gap” wrought on thousands of Palestinians all the way though the seven-year warfare.
Wehbe warned that the violations perpetrated in Syrian penitentiaries amount to state terrorism of the kind committed by stakeholders in the embattled Syrian territories.
Wehbe called on the Palestine Liberation Organization and official Palestinian bodies to live up to their responsibilities as regards the situation of the Palestinians of Syria and to take those involved in war crimes against them to regional and international courts.
PRC is an independent, non-partisan organization advocating the rights of Palestinian refugees. In July 2015, the centre was granted consultative status at the United Nations as a Non-governmental organization (NGO) in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in recognition of its efforts in standing up for Palestinian human rights.