The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria condemns the rampant sexual and gender-based violence used by Syria’s warring parties to instill fear in the civilian population and to humiliate and shame their victims into silence.
The UN investigators find sexual and gender-based violence is pervasive throughout Syrian society. No one is spared. They say countless thousands of women and girls, of men and boys have been and continue to be subjected to the most degrading, punishing forms of sexual violence by government (regime) forces, armed militia and terrorist groups.
Chair of the Commission, Paulo Pinheiro, calls these brutal acts utterly repugnant. While Syrians from all backgrounds, including men and boys are affected, he says women and girls are disproportionately victimized on multiple grounds.
“For seven years, the victims of this brutal conflict repeatedly underscore the overriding importance of accountability for all crimes and violations committed," he said.
"Yet, it is particularly repulsive that SGBV violations by warring parties including government (regime) forces and affiliated militias, anti-government armed groups and terrorist organizations and their affiliates continue to go unpunished.”
The report is based on searing testimony from 454 survivors, relatives of survivors and members of affected communities about events, which have occurred between March 2011 when the uprising began and the end of 2017.
The report finds many of the rapes and other acts of sexual violence, the widespread and systematic attacks against civilian populations, the torture and outrages committed to shame and subjugate the victims could amount to crimes against humanity and, in some cases, to war crimes.