The Syrian uprising that began in March 2011 was not the result of chance, even if it came within the context of the Arab Spring uprisings, it was an explosion in the face of an oppressive, tyrannical regime that oppressed the Syrian people for decades before. As a result of the efforts of a large number of people, on the various political, social and human rights levels, whether individually or collectively, they opposed and resisted tyranny. These people paid for many years of their lives arrest or exile, while many of them were forcibly disappeared, or were tortured.
The Syrians knew the criminal nature of the regime that governed their daily lives, even the smallest details and deprived them of their political, economic and social rights. However, Syrian people believed that change is possible, and raising their voices to demand freedom, justice, democracy and equality might lead to a change they seek for the country. They were confronted with oppression from the Syrian authorities and their allies. As they perpetuated to kill, torture and kidnap Syrians. They committed grave violations against citizens under the eye of the International Society which did not do anything to stop the crime in Syria.
The eleventh anniversary of the Syrian uprising comes at a time when Russia, a country that used its political-military machine against the Syrian people’s desire for change. Since the beginning of the revolution, Russia has used its veto against decisions that would stop the regime’s attacks on defenceless people, and it has obstructed any international effort to achieve justice for the Syrians and hold the perpetrators of violations accountable, and then directed its military and planes to target civilians and hospitals committing crimes against humanity and war crimes. The pictures coming from Ukraine brought back to mind the atrocities against Syrians. The various demands that Ukraine’s path should not follow Syria’s one open the deep Syrian wound. As if those who committed the atrocities in Syria had been held accountable, we would not have seen the same atrocities being repeated today in Ukraine and by the same party.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression renews its commitment to the demonstrators’ first demands, in terms of freedom, democracy, pluralism, and respect for human rights. It affirms its aspiration for a political transition that would establish a new phase, in which the dignity of citizens is preserved and their rights and duties are equal without any discrimination on any basis, whether racial, religious or gender. Such a transition cannot take place without a national transitional justice process, that is neither retaliatory nor selective, that establishes a comprehensive national reconciliation based on true knowledge, accountability for violators, compensation and reparation for victims. Until transitional justice is achieved, the center will spare no effort, and will spare no opportunity, but will push to refer Syria’s file to the International Criminal Court; the center continues its work in documenting violations against Syrians, whoever the perpetrator is, and on collecting evidence, documents and information to serve the process of prosecuting war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity, some of whom are tried in a number of countries according to universal or trans-regional jurisdiction. Although these individual trials are not the desired justice, they represent an essential step that supports the efforts of the victims to reach the justice desired by the Syrians.