The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution on Thursday that will create an independent body to investigate the fate of over 130,000 individuals who have gone missing during the Syrian conflict.
In response to the appeals from families and loved ones, the resolution was passed with a majority vote. Notably, Syria, along with Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran, opposed the resolution, expressing their refusal to cooperate with the newly established institution.
The resolution acknowledges the limited progress made in addressing the suffering of families and providing information about the fate and whereabouts of missing persons during the 12-year Syrian conflict.
It authorises the formation of an Independent Institution of Missing Persons in the Syrian Arab Republic, operating under the auspices of the UN, with the objective of investigating and clarifying the fate and whereabouts of all missing individuals, while also offering adequate support to victims, survivors, and their families.
The new institution aims to serve as a centralised platform, collecting and comparing data, promoting coordination, and facilitating communication with all relevant parties.
However, the Syrian Ambassador, Bassam Sabbagh, dismissed the resolution as “politicised” and accused the United States and other Western nations of interfering in Syria’s internal affairs. He asserted that Syria had already addressed the issue of missing persons, thoroughly investigated disappearances according to Syrian law, and processed all claims submitted to law enforcement authorities.
Leading up to the vote, more than 100 civil society organisations and 23 UN human rights experts had called on the General Assembly to establish an independent institution.