Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR) is proud to share with you its first Human Rights report, “Voices from the Dark: Torture and Sexual Violence against Women in Syrian Government’s Detention Centres”. This report comes after 5 years of work dedicated to expert medical documentation of torture and sexual violence in Syria.
To read the report, please visit the following link here
You can kindly find your copy of the English version of the report in the attachments, or download them from the link here
On this International Day of Justice, we are reminded how important it is to listen to these voices. They bear witness to more than 6 years of a systemic, institutionalized terror and brutality in government detention centres. If we listen, they also teach us the devastating, long-lasting damage of torture and sexual violence. And they show us, starkly, what power with impunity and without accountability becomes behind closed doors and in secret.
This report shares the story of eight Syrian women who survived Syrian Government’s prisons between 2011 and 2016, and who are still struggling with its impact on them. Whilst the physical abuse and terror used against the women differs, the long lasting psychological damage resonates between their cases. Without exception, these women are still haunted by the terror of detention. They have become withdrawn, fearful and anxious. The relationships with their families and children have suffered. Their communities regard them with shame.
These stories must be heard. Tens of thousands of Syrians have been detained and subjected to the human destruction of these detention centres. Thousands of women are believed to be still held in detention. Children are also being detained and exposed to the same horrors.
We ask the world to find its voice to stop these crimes and bring those responsible to justice. The arbitrary arrest and detention of government opponents must be stopped immediately. As must the pervasive torture, sexual violence and extreme cruel and inhuman treatment which is being inflicted 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 profound, long-term damage exacted upon those who survive has to be addressed. The remains of those who did not survive must be found, their fates known and returned to their loved ones. These urgent requirements must be on the top of the agenda. Every day they are not, more lives are lost, more people are harmed.
We thank you for taking the time to read our report and listen to the voices of these 8 brave women. We ask for your help to make their voices heard as far and as wide as possible. To seek justice and try to bring others safely from the dark.