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“The Light has Disappeared” Enforced Disappearances in Syria and their impact on children and young people

Accountability & Rule of Law - Transformative Justice - Syrian Crisis - Advocacy


Enforced or involuntary disappearances have been a widespread occurrence in Syria since the start of the uprising and the outbreak of the armed conflict. Most persons subjected to enforced disappearances have been men, although women have also been targeted. The practice has caused devastation to families and communities across Syrian society, forcing them to deal with grief, desperation and physical and financial uncertainty, all at once. The severe emotional, psychological, and social consequences amount to a complex trauma that greatly impacts children’s day to day life.

Moreover, the forcible disappearance of a family member places Syrian children at risk of compounding violations and abuses. The fate of missing and detained persons is a key issue for the peace process in Syria. Moreover, there are few political avenues available to those who arguably have the largest stake in the country’s future; young people and children. Failing to give a voice to those who will be living with the effects of enforced disappearance for generations to come only makes it more likely that “true reconciliation, the healing of society’s wounds, credible justice and sustainable peace will remain elusive.”

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