Ahmed Al Assi Jarba

 

Ahmed Al Assi Jarba
Ahmed Al Assi Jarba

Mr.Ahmed Al Assi Jarba

President of the Syrian National Coalition

Email:[email protected]

Mr Jarba,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights activist and Freelance journalist.

I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

Palestinian human rights defender Mr *Abdullah Al Khateeb* has received notice of threats upon his life. The threats coincide with the raid of his residence in the Yarmouk refugee camp, 8 kilometers from Southern Damascus, by Islamist State (IS) militias on 1 April 2015.

Abdullah Al Khateeb is a founding member of the *Palestinian League for Human Rights* (PLHR), a network established in 2012 to document and promote the human rights of Palestinian refugees. Since 2011, Al Khateeb has been documenting human rights abuses committed by different parties within the Syrian conflict, whilst also volunteering to provide humanitarian assistance in the Yarmouk refugee camp.

The human rights and humanitarian work of Al Khateeb has made the human rights defender a target for the Syrian regime and armed opposition groups within the country. Recently, Al Khateeb was informed by several credible sources that his life is under threat. On 1 April, members of the IS militias, who control large parts of the refugee camp in which the human rights defender resides, stormed his residence in an attempt to capture him. Al Khateeb was able to evacuate his residence a short time before this attack. This followed a previous attempt to kidnap the human rights defender in front of his residence on 9 March 2015, which was unsuccessful. A blockade, imposed on the camp by the Syrian army since July 2013, prevents the human rights defender from leaving.

The Yarmouk camp currently hosts around 18,000 Palestinian refugees and Syrian Internally Displaced Persons. The security situation within the camp has been deteriorating since 2012, due to the expansion of the armed conflict within Syria. Assassination of human rights defenders and humanitarian volunteers by militant groups has been common in the camp. On 30 March 2015, Mr *Yehia Hourani*, a volunteer for the *Red Crescent*, a Syrian humanitarian organisation, was killed on his way to his place of work. On 23 February 2015, Mr *Firas Al Naji*, a member of the PLHR, and close friend of Abdullah Al Khateeb, was shot dead in his residence in the camp.

I am deeply concerned for the safety of Abdullah Al Khateeb and other human rights rights defenders in the Yarmouk camp and strongly urge the Syrian regime to immediately end its blockade of the camp, and guarantee a safe exit for Al Khateeb and all other human rights defenders targeted by militant groups. I also also call upon all armed opposition groups who are present in the Yarmouk camp to end their targeting of human rights defenders and humanitarian workers.

I urge the authorities in Syria to:

1. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Abdullah Al Khateeb;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Syria are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

 

Human Rights Activist & ?Freelance Journalist

Twitter @wnicholasgomes

 

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