Dublin: New report documents harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in Syria

This report is a summary of a study conducted by Mazen Darwish from the Syrian Centre for Media & Freedom of Expression which analyses the impact of current Syrian Government polices on the human rights climate. The study lists the names of more than 400 activists from different parts of Syria who are subject to travel bans, among them 101 human rights defenders, 75 of whom have been identified as members of 12 different human rights groups, including 20 women.

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The study sheds light on travel bans in relation to the Syrian constitution and law and in relation to the political climate since 1976. "This report highlights a part of the high price that human rights defenders in Syria pay for their legitimate human rights work" said Mazen Darwish from the Syrian Centre for Media & Freedom of Expression. “Front Line, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, considers travel bans as a major obstacle to the work of human rights defenders and has raised many cases of such a nature in Syria. We are very pleased to be able to publish an English summary of the report in order to try and gain greater attention for this important issue” said Mary Lawlor Executive Director of Front Line In Dublin. “The security bodies allow or prohibit travel authorisations depending on the person, the host, the nature of the activity and location of the activity. In some cases it turns out to be a form of pressure and punishment used to deny some people the possibility to work, study, receive treatment or communicate with their family” said Darwish.

It was difficult to prepare a full list of those subject to travel bans in Syria as the security apparatus does not recognise its travel ban policy and insists that the matter does not exceed the review. There is also no law that protects the right of access to information in Syria; therefore nothing compels the Department of Immigration and Passports to disclose such information. Front Line urges the government of Syria to put an end to this practice which is in breach of international human rights standers even all relevant consequences into account.

To access the full text of the summary please link to  Travel Bans in Syria

For more information please contact:

Abdulhadi@frontlinedefenders.org, www.frontlinedefenders.org