Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR), a Syrian NGO working to secure justice and accountability for the victims of international crimes in Syria, has published a new report called Voices from the Dark. Torture and Sexual Violence Against Women in Assad’s Detention Centres.
The report exposes the stories of eight women who have survived Assad’s detention centers. In these illegal -and often secret- prisons, women are subjected to sexual violence and brutal torture.
Voices from the Dark analyses the commonalities between the experiences of these women and identifies systematic patterns in their stories as an indication of a wider official policy of the Syrian regime. As a matter of fact, after careful examination of the context in which these abuses occurred, LDHR concluded that the violence these women suffered form part of a widespread pattern of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, pervasive torture, sexual violence and life-threatening conditions inside Syrian government detention.
Consequently, these abuses amount to crimes against humanity.
The eight women narrate experiences of “unbearable suffering and agony”, with long-lasting psychological effects.
According to LDHR: “These stories must be heard. Tens of thousands of Syrians have been detained and are believed to be still held in detention. Children are also being detained and subjected to the human destruction of these detention centres. Thousands of women exposed to the same horrors. The arbitrary arrest and detention of government opponents must be stopped. Immediately. As must the torture and extreme cruel and inhu- man treatment which is being in icted upon detainees. There must be immediate independent monitoring and medical access into each and every detention centre in Syria, and the release and care for detainees must be given utmost priority. The pro- found, long-term damage exacted upon those who survive has to be addressed. The remains of those who did not survive must be found and returned to their loved ones“.
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