Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Koenders urges release of Syrian human rights activists – heroes of our time
"On Sunday, the UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders called for the immediate release of ‘the Douma Four’, a group of Syrian human rights defenders that had been active since the start of the peaceful uprising against the regime of President Assad in 2011.
‘There is a chilling silence surrounding the mass murders and other crimes committed by the Assad regime,’ Mr Koenders remarked. ‘Our commitment to fighting ISIS should not lead to when it comes to massive human rights violations perpetrated by Assad.’ The minister went on to call the Douma Four ‘heroes of our time’.
Razan Zeitouneh, Samira al-Khalil, Wael Hamade and Nazem Hammadi are four Syrians who have been taking a stand for human rights at risk to their own lives. Through the Violations Documentation Centre, an NGO, the four worked to record human rights violations committed against the Syrian people, until the day they were abducted from their offices in Douma by armed men. Since then, nothing has been heard from them."