New Report Documents Human Rights Abuses in Syria

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January 2014

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has released a new report, Reasons for Displacement: Documenting Abuses Against Syrians, which tells a compelling story and contains first-hand accounts of human rights abuses from a cross-section of Syrian society. The data includes experiences from 10 Syrian governorates, as well as from various religious and ethnic groups, and the report identifies patterns of experiences by a sample group of Syrians and Palestinian Refugees from Syria who have fled to Jordan and Lebanon since the start of the conflict.

Download the full report

The dataset contributes to the growing body of evidence that Syrian Government Forces are targeting civilian populations and violating human rights and humanitarian laws.

According to United Nations Refugee Agency records, more than 2.3 million Syrians are currently registered as, or are awaiting registration as, refugees throughout the Middle East and North Africa, principally in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The purpose of the ABA ROLI report was to document the reasons behind Syrians’ flight from their country with a central goal of providing an objective analysis, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods, of the harms suffered by Syrian refugees.

In partnership with local service providers and non-governmental organizations and researchers, ABA ROLI randomly interviewed nearly 900 adult Syrians living in refugee camps and communities in Jordan and Lebanon from January–July 2013. The report captures reasons why Syrian respondents fled their country, the types and levels of harm they suffered and, when possible, the perpetrator groups responsible. Importantly—and in contrast to other documentation efforts of Syrian refugees—respondents were selected under a two-tiered randomization process whereby the respondent’s household was selected randomly and then the respondent was selected randomly from within the household in order to enhance the credibility, diversity and objectivity of the dataset. 

The dataset also contributes to the growing body of evidence that Syrian Government Forces are targeting civilian populations and violating human rights and humanitarian laws, and in some cases, committing acts that may rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report—through direct accounts by respondents—details incidents of torture, arbitrary arrest, beatings and home raids on civilians by the Syrian government and its affiliated forces. The first-hand testimonies and quantitative data also point to abuses by anti-regime armed groups, including of conducting military operations in disregard for civilian populations.

You can access the full report here

Click here to access the Executive Summary in Arabic.

To learn more about the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s work in Syria, contact us at rol@americanbar.org.

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