News / Middle East

HRW: Syria Has 'Archipelago' of Torture Centers

Syrian opposition members take part in a demonstration calling for more human rights in Syria, including putting a stop to physical torture in prisons, Beirut, Lebanon, December 10, 2009. Syrian opposition members take part in a demonstration calling for more human rights in Syria, including putting a stop to physical torture in prisons, Beirut, Lebanon, December 10, 2009.
x
Syrian opposition members take part in a demonstration calling for more human rights in Syria, including putting a stop to physical torture in prisons, Beirut, Lebanon, December 10, 2009.
Syrian opposition members take part in a demonstration calling for more human rights in Syria, including putting a stop to physical torture in prisons, Beirut, Lebanon, December 10, 2009.
Selah Hennessy
LONDON — Syrian authorities have built an “archipelago” of at least 27 torture centers, according to Human Rights Watch. In a report published Tuesday, the advocacy group says abuse at the centers constitutes a crime against humanity.  

“The kinds of torture that we are talking about are really appalling types of abuse,"said David Mepham, the United Kingdom director of Human Rights Watch.

"We've had people put in stress positions, we've had people who have been electrocuted, we've had people burned with acid, we've had people subject to sexual abuse – terrible crimes have been committed,” Mepham said.

Human Right Watch began researching the report in March 2011 and has since conducted more than 200 interviews. The report has maps showing the location of the alleged detention centers. It also lists the agencies and, in many cases, specific commanders involved in the abuses.

Mepham said the aim of the report is to identify those responsible for abuse and where it has taken place so that one day individuals can be held accountable.


"We've had people put in stress positions, we've had people who have been electrocuted, we've had people burned with acid, we've had people subject to sexual abuse - terrible crimes have been committed,” Mepham said.

Human Right Watch began researching the report in March 2011 and has since conducted more than 200 interviews. The report has maps showing the location of the alleged detention centers. It also lists the agencies and, in many cases, specific commanders involved in the abuses.

Related video report by Meredith Buel:

Syrian Government Accused of Widespread Torturei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
July 03, 2012 10:27 PM
Human Rights Watch is accusing the Syrian government of widespread torture at 27 facilities across the country. The report comes as violence continues to escalate and international diplomatic efforts to end the conflict appear to be making little progress. VOA Correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.
Mepham said the aim of the report is to identify those responsible for abuse and where it has taken place so that one day individuals can be held accountable.

He said responsibility ultimately rests with those at the top of the Syrian government.

“Under what's called command responsibility, even if a more junior person in the Syrian intelligence agency or the Syrian military was responsible for this abuse, one would expect that the commanders responsible for that unit or that branch of the intelligence agency would know what was going on, would take steps to address it," Mepham said. "So the accountability and criminal responsibility for this abuse goes very high in the Syrian regime.”

The Syrian government thus far has not responded to the report’s allegations.

Human Rights Watch said the ill treatment carried out at the prisons constitutes a crime against humanity. The organization wants the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. It also wants targeted sanctions against officials implicated in abuse.

Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics said it is unlikely the report will sway the U.N. Security Council. “I think that Russia and China have neutralized the Security Council and thus the human rights report will not be able to bring about any qualitative change in how the Syrian crisis is basically viewed regionally and internationally,” he said.

For China and Russia, he said, the situation in Syria is viewed as a civil war in which both sides commit abuses.

“You cannot compare what the Syrian authorities have been doing to what the opposition has done so far," he said. "And yet the abuses are there and that's why the more the violence continues, the more human rights violations will be carried out in Syria by both the Syrian authorities and the armed wing of the opposition.”

In response to the Human Rights Watch report, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday that there is “no hiding place” for those committing abuses in Syria.

He said Britain will work with its international partners to ensure those responsible face justice.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: Spongebob1966 from: Edmonton, Canada
July 04, 2012 2:19 PM
Yes, and these opposition forces that are getting mistreated are BLOMBING UP!!! goverment employees and civilians (including woman and children)?!?!


by: Michael from: USA
July 04, 2012 8:30 AM
God bless VOA! God bless Americans working on this Fourth of July Independence. Syria is being depicted as a Satanic entity. In reality, the leadership believes they are doing their duty to God. To change this, one would have to go back to the 1967 Six Day War. It is much too late for such retrospection


by: Carl Loeber from: US
July 03, 2012 9:51 PM
How ridiculous are the leaders of the West .. they say they will bring the criminals to justice .. after they have finished their deeds .. but they will not stop the criminals from doing the deeds .. what cowards are these leaders .. ridiculous cowards ..


by: Anonymous
July 03, 2012 9:32 PM
Syria Has 'Archipelago' of Torture Centers So do we.
And Iraq had WMD. Iran is very bad. Israel is the best. Propaganda as usual.


by: Fred Johnson from: Frederickburg VA
July 03, 2012 9:25 PM
“Under what's called command responsibility, even if a more junior person in the Syrian intelligence agency or the Syrian military was responsible for this abuse, one would expect that the commanders responsible for that unit or that branch of the intelligence agency would know what was going on, would take steps to address it," Mepham said. "So the accountability and criminal responsibility for this abuse goes very high in the Syrian regime.”
WOW that is really perceptive reasoning... Now why don't you apply it to your own country, with a board in your eye


by: Charlie McHenry from: Medford, OR
July 03, 2012 9:07 PM
Let's call this what it is, the long-anticipated war between Shia/Alawite and Sunni/Salafi sects of Islam. Does the Western world really want to hand Syria over to Salafis? That's who plotted and executed 9/11. Salafi extremists. We'd better pick our allies very carefully in this particular conflict, as all is not as it seems.


by: MSG G from: USA
July 03, 2012 7:51 PM
Well you have been warned, the less educated who have replied make reference to US torture. We are still the country who is bound by political correctness and our wars of law that govern It in such things. Our techniques are elementary compared to techniques used by our middle eastern friends. I wanted information but the army would let me use a sword or other devices to pilfer information. If you are comparing us to them you must be an arm chair warrior who has never experienced what occurs.

In Response

by: Endle Winters from: California
July 04, 2012 12:26 PM
Good one. Equate criticism of the US with being uneducated and ignorance of "what really goes on.."
The fact remains: the U.S. is not a panacea of virtue and human rights. The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world, tortures detainees, and recently passed a law that allows the government to detain its citizens indefinately on "suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations"

Now reason that out with some vague logic.


by: ouchosparks from: USA
July 03, 2012 6:58 PM
The US, having embraced torture as a policy, and refusing to investigate and prosecute high officials who have admitted authorizing or ordering torture, can say nothing condemnatory against Syria. Indeed, Syria has in the past tortured US rendered prisoners, all with the knowledge and approval of our government.


by: jp from: canada
July 03, 2012 6:07 PM
After reading the article and comments, I despair of the human race. What does it matter who else does it? If that's your excuse for what you do, then you might as well give up the ghost.


by: jak jones from: australia
July 03, 2012 6:04 PM
What like Guantanamo? That bad huh, better get Obama to close em down ha ha

Comments page of 3
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid