Syria: NPWJ organises training course on security awareness for Human Rights Defenders

Gaziantep, Turkey, 18-19 January 2017

Over the course of the last fıve years, a large amount of information about violations of international human rights and humanitarian law is being gathered by Syrian and other groups; however these efforts did not result in a deterrent effect by putting people on notice that violations are being investigated and, therefore, abate the level of violence within the country, quite the opposite.
Organisations and individuals working on documentation and human rights protection have been targeted by those committing crimes, irrespective of the position or allegiance of those involved, due to the threat that the documentation gathered constitutes for them in the long term. Since March 2011, the security apparatus of Damascus, terrorist groups and local militias have all targeted civil society representatives and human rights defenders, particularly those working on, or suspected of working on, documenting human rights violations and crimes under international law. Without sufficient security and safety awareness and protocols to guide their everyday work, the efforts of Syrian civil society organisations and human rights defenders risk becoming a liability for them and a direct threat to their personal and organisational security and safety, and that of those with whom they interact.
To answer these needs, NPWJ organised a training course on “Security awareness for Human Rights Defenders”, which took place in Gaziantep on 18-19 January 2017. Participants consisted of representatives of Syrian CSOs and NGOs who work on documentation. The two-day training, which was led by internationally recognised experts, focused on the main components of physical and personal security awareness, particularly in the context of investigating and documenting human rights violations and crimes under international law, in addition to focus on the psycho-social issues and particularly about post-traumatic stress primary and secondary in victims and in those speaking to victims, and the development of strategies and protocols to guide their everyday work.
This workshop was supported by the European Commission.
NPWJ has supported the Syrian civil society since the inception of the Syrian crisis and, since October 2013, has established an office in Gaziantep, Turkey, from where it conducts its Syria-related activities by empowering and increasing the capacity of Syrian CSOs and democratic activists to act and advocate for transitional justice and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

For further information, please contact Rami Nakhla (Syria Project Coordinator) on or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on or +32-2-548-3915.