In Syria, tens of thousands of individuals have vanished without a trace after arrest by the Syrian government since 2011. They are the victims of enforced disappearance– when a person is arrested, or detained by a state, or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the state, who then deny the person is being held or conceal their whereabouts. While the scale of the patterns of abuse cannot be compared with that of the Syrian government, armed opposition groups have also been responsible for enforced disappearances in areas they control and subjecting them to torture and other forms of ill-treatment,  and concealing their whereabouts or fate.

The disappeared are cut off from the outside world, packed into overcrowded, secret cells where torture is routine, disease is rampant and death is commonplace. Their families are forced to live in desperation with few, if any, safe ways of trying to find their loved ones.

Amnesty International launched this website on 30 August 2017 to mark the International Day of the Disappeared with a view of raising awareness around the issue of enforced disappearance. We focus on individuals who have been targeted solely on the basis of their human rights activities.



Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion and are funded mainly by our membership and public donations.


Amnesty International has documented and publicly reported on the issue of detention, torture, and enforced disappearance in Syria for decades and increasingly since 2011. We have published several reports documenting the horrific and inhuman conditions in Syria’s prisons including torture, death in custody as well as enforced disappearance. These practices committed by the Syrian government are in violation of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes, and also to crimes against humanity. We also documented violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, by armed groups, including torture, ill-treatment, summary killings, abduction and hostage-taking


Our research is accompanied with calls for actions. Tens of thousands around the world have joined our campaigns in an effort to pressure the Russian and US and other governments to use their influence with the Syrian government  and armed groups to end torture, reveal the whereabouts and fate of of tens of thousands who have been forcibly disappeared or abducted and provide independent monitors access to detention centers. We also called on the international community to impose an arms embargo on Syria end cease  support to opposition groups responsible for crimes under international law, including grave violations of international humanitarian law.