Friday, September 17, 2021

Syrian refugees tortured on return, Amnesty Int’l alleges

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Amnesty International on Tuesday alleged that Syrian refugees who returned home were subjected to torture, detention and disappearance by security forces.

It urged governments to protect them from deportation and forcible return.

In a report titled:  “You’re going to your death” the London-based human rights group documented violations by intelligence officers against 66 returnees, including 13 children.

The report which came as pressure piled on Syrian refugees in some Western countries such as Denmark to go home, also cited five deaths in custody.

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“Any government claiming Syria is now safe is willfully ignoring the horrific reality on  ground, leaving refugees once again,  fearing for their lives.’’

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Syria has denied refugees faced indiscriminate torture and reprisals and President Bashar al-Assad,  had said millions of refugees were being forced to stay in host countries.

Assad alleged that Syrian refugees were held by “pressure or intimidation” and that host states were enticing them financially, while benefiting from international aid for them.

Amnesty urged European governments,  Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to halt any practice that forced people to return.

“Military hostilities may have subsided, but the Syrian government’s propensity for egregious human rights violations has not.’’

Both the European Council and the European Parliament had issued declarations,  saying conditions were not in place for the safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees.

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Similarly, the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, has called on states not to forcibly return Syrian nationals to any part of Syria, even those areas controlled by the government, such as the capital region.

Syria’s conflict which started in 2011 as peaceful protests against Assad’s rule,  spiralled into a multi-sided conflict that killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

It had fractured the Middle East country and drawn in foreign friends and enemies.

Reuters/NAN

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