International activism comes to the rescue to find the whereabouts of thousands of missing Syrians


A new activism campaign has come to the rescue to find the whereabouts of thousands of missing Syrians.

The new campaign was scheduled to be launched on Thursday by Avaaz, a 10 million-member group that describes itself as a global Web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.

Since the start of protests against Bashar Al Assad’s regime in March 15, there are nearly 3,000 Syrians who have been forcibly “disappeared,” the group said in a press release received by Alarabiya English.

“Hour by hour, peaceful protesters are plucked from crowds by Syria’s infamously brutal security forces, never to be seen again,” said Ricken Patel, Executive Director at Avaaz.

According the group’s survey, there is approximately one person disappearing every hour, and that the regime is stepping up its efforts to quash dissent as the holy month of Ramadan is imminent. The group said that in the past week alone there have been more than 1,000 arrests.

The campaign, which is supported by citizen journalism, in a country where international journalists are vulnerable to arrests and many have been expulsed, is also web based. It will detail names and background information of the missing in Arabic and English, in addition to the interactive Web tool -- which will be constantly updated, the press release said.

The group named South Africa, India, Brazil, Kuwait and Qatar as key governments to wield pressure on the Syrian regime by sending human rights delegations and to release the disappeared.

“President Assad’s attempt to terrorize Syrians into submission isn’t working, but they urgently need the international community to demand the release of the disappeared and a transition to democracy,” said the executive director.

(Dina Al-Shibeeb, a senior editor at Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: [email protected])