Detainees and Forcibly Disappeared Persons in Syria: Paths to Truth and Accountability


Fadel Abdul Ghany

Founder and Executive Director

Syrian Network for Human Rights

Hala Al Ghawi


Families for Freedom

Jeremy Sarkin

Former Chair-Rapporteur

UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID)


Radwan Ziadeh

Senior Fellow

Arab Center Washington DC

About the Webinar

On April 20, 2023, Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) organized a webinar titled, “Detainees and Forcibly Disappeared Persons in Syria: Paths to Truth and Accountability.” Panelists were Fadel Abdul Ghany, Founder and Executive Director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights; Hala Al Ghawi, Co-Founder of Families for Freedom and Co-Founder of Syria’s Bright Future; and Jeremy Sarkin, Professor at NOVA University of Lisbon and Former Chair-Rapporteur at the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). Radwan Ziadeh, Senior Fellow at Arab Center Washington DC, moderated the event.

Jeremy Sarkin started off the discussion by speaking from his two decades of experience working on enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions. He detailed the massive extent of Syrian detention facilities run by both state and non-state actors, explained the challenges of documentation and accountability, and offered proposals for how to better address the issue and to achieve justice for victims and their families.

Hala Al Ghawi discussed her work with survivors of arbitrary detention and their families in their struggle to obtain truth and justice and explored the prospects for an international mechanism to ensure both reparations for victims and accountability for these crimes.

Fadel Abdul Ghany spoke about enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention as tools of repression, outlined the Syrian regime’s ongoing practice of torture and unjust trials, detailed the work his organization has done documenting detentions and deaths, and offered recommendations for how to deal with these crimes against humanity.

Featured image credit: Shutterstock/holwichaikawee


Thursday April 20, 2023


10:00 AM