Syria: NPWJ and its Syrian partners submit recommendations for consideration at the 26th Session of the UPR Working Group

24 Mar, 2016 | Press Releases

Geneva, 24 March 2016

In light of the second cycle of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of Syria, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) has developed a series of recommendations on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and the Rights of Women in Syria. NPWJ together with the Human Rights Organisation Alkawakibi (H.R.O.K.), Free Syrian Lawyers Association, Human Rights Guardians and Start Point, have also jointly developed a series of recommendations on Civil and Political Rights in Syria.

The recommendations, directed towards the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic, will be considered at the 26th Session of the UPR Working Group to be held in November 2016.

Recommendations on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and the Rights of Women:

  1. The authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic should adhere to the terms of the ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to all those in need in Syria;
  2. Ensure a domestic definition of torture in line with the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Syrian legislation and remove its reservation to article 20 of the Convention;
  3. Take all necessary steps to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and enact implementing legislation to incorporate Rome Statute crimes in Syrian law and provide for cooperation with the Court;
  4. Develop a robust legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights by ensuring that the constitution and national legislation are fully compliant with international human rights standards, including by a comprehensive review of the Penal Code, the Personal Status Code and all other relevant legislation, with a particular focus on gender discrimination and SGBV;
  5. Adopt and enforce laws against domestic violence, remove mitigating factors from the punishment of “honour-crimes” against women and repeal article 548 of the Penal Code that allows a lesser sentence for “honour killing”;
  6. Step up efforts to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, in particular women and children;
  7. Adopt and implement necessary legislative and administrative measures to promote a greater inclusion of women in the country’s public and political life, ensuring that they effectively participate in the decision-making process, and lift the reservations made to the CEDAW;
  8. Enhance policies and measures to protect social vulnerable groups, especially women, children and elderly persons, including by developing a victim protection unit and victim and witness support service and ensuring coordination between the police, prosecution and judiciary regarding the best interests and protection of victims and witnesses.

Recommendations on Civil and political rights:

  1. The authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic should Stop the kidnapping, hostage-taking and take specific steps to ensure accountability for those working in its ranks who commit violations.
  2. Establish DNA database for all the families of the missing.
  3. Take appropriate actions to protect potential mass graves in order to keep information that may be vital in any search for the truth in the future.
  4. Cooperate with the competent authorities in the United Nations and with the Human Rights Council mechanisms.
  5. Ratify the international convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances.
  6. Ratify the Second Optional Protocol on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant.
  7. Ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which Syria signed in 2000.
  8. Provide information about the fate of the disappeared and deliver their bodies to their families in case they died.
  9. Provide lists of arrested persons to enable their families and their lawyers to review them at any time, identifying the location of their detention and the charges against them, disclose the names of people who died during the forced disappearance, and the settlement of their legal status.
  10. Include the concept of enforced disappearances in the Syrian Penal Code and the criminalization of enforced disappearance in the Syrian criminal law so as to prevent these acts being done with impunity.
  11. Ensure places of arrest and detention are subject to the necessary legal oversight and desist from detention in the security services that are difficult to be counted and are not subject to any control.
  12. Ensure the investigation and punishment of any security force involved in enforced disappearances.


For further information, please contact Gianluca Eramo (MENA Democracy program Coordinator) on or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on or +32-2-548-3915.