UN debates creation of 'new international institution' as 100,000 Syrians remain missing

UN debates creation of 'new international institution' as 100,000 Syrians remain missing

'Syrian people deserve to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones' says UN chief

By Betul Yuruk

UNITED NATIONS (AA) - The UN chief urged the 193 member-General Assembly to establish a new international institution Tuesday to clarify the fate and whereabouts of 100,000 missing Syrians.

Antonio Guterres said Syrians deserve to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones.

''Justice demands it – peace and reconciliation depend on it,'' Guterres told the UN General Assembly.

An estimated 100,000 have gone missing since the country's civil war began in 2011 when anti-government protests were brutally repressed by the Assad regime during the Arab Spring.

''People in every part of the country and across all divides have loved ones who are missing, including family members who were forcibly disappeared, abducted, tortured, and arbitrarily detained,'' said Guterres.

''We must work to resolve this deeply painful situation with determination and urgency.''

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said the conflict, now in its 13th year, was a human rights tragedy.

''It is impossible to establish with certainty how many people have been disappeared in Syria. The figure of 100,000 is often cited; the real number may well be far more,'' said Turk. ''Children are growing up with a gaping absence where their father should be. Wives, mothers and sisters are struggling to support their families.''

He said there would be no enduring peace in Syria without progress on the issue of missing persons as he urged the General Assembly to consider the establishment of a new institution to bring clarity to what has happened to all the people who have been disappeared.

''We owe the people of Syria no less,'' he said.



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