Fallacies not facts : A critical legal study of the national report submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic in the third cycle of the universal periodic review in 2022

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On 28th of January 2022, Syria’s session of the Uni- versal Periodic Review UPR was held before the Human Rights Council as part of the third cycle of the review. In this session, the Syrian government submitted its na- tional report in addition to the compilation report sub- mitted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the summary of stakeholders’ submissions. On 30th of June 2022, the final outcomes of the reports of this round were adopted. The session was concluded with a reference from the Syrian government to the progress made by Syria in protecting human rights despite facing exceptional external challenges. According to the Syrian government, these challenges consist in the existence of the Israeli, Turkish and American occupation, the unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria, the presence of ex- ternally supported armed terrorist groups in some areas of the country, and the politicization of humanitarian action under pressure from donor countries. In addition to that, the Syrian government, through its report and national plans attached to it, imposed its vision for a post-conflict Syria.

Here is the significance of this critical legal study; it is trying objectively to refute the government’s argument based on the obligations of international law and the proven and documented context at the international level of the ongoing violations in Syria. This critical legal study argues that the Syrian government has relied on providing erro- neous information and neglecting the whole aspects of the truth of the human rights situation in Syria – leading to an unrealistic portrayal of the state for the human rights situation in the country. This study also argues that there is a vicious cycle of legislative and judicial violations that are in no way related to the external chal- lenges that the Syrian government has indicated, such as violations of judicial guarantees, enforced disappearance, torture and ill treatment, as well as summary executions and persisting impunity. This indicates that the post-conflict phase that the Syrian government is promoting is nothing else but a victory announcement and an attempt to impose the government model of “justice” over the justice path, ignoring all the previous violations and forcing the victims to reconcile and reform to prevent the reoccurrence of the violations perpetrated by the government.

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