November 24, 2023

Families of Syrian detainees call for the UAE to uninvite Assad from COP 28 outside London embassy 

TODAY the families of victims and survivors of enforced disappearance and torture in Syria urged the United Arab Emirates to uninvite Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from the COP28 talks from outside the UAE embassy in London, one week before the conference begins in Dubai. 

The Syrian families held photos of their loved ones who have been detained or disappeared by the Syrian regime and other groups. 

Nevin Al-Mousa, a member of Families For Freedom whose brother Hamza Al-Mousa’s fate remains unknown since he was detained in 2014, said: “How can a war criminal who has bombed his own people with chemical weapons, who has forcibly detained thousands, who still attacks those who want peace and democracy, be invited to shake hands with world leaders? 

 “Assad’s very presence at a summit on the future of our earth is absurd. It is an insult to the thousands who have lost their loved ones, and the millions who have fled their homeland. Assad has no place deciding the future of our planet when he has committed countless war crimes with impunity and continues to attack the Syrian people.” 

Bashar al-Assad and his armed forces have committed countless crimes against humanity against the Syrian people as well as extensive devastation to the environment. Damage caused by the Syrian regime’s use of explosive weapons, attacks on the oil industry, damage to water and waste management systems, as well as conflict-related deforestation, has had dire consequences for people and the planet. 

If the UAE does not uninvite Assad, the families are urging world leaders to shun Assad at the talks and make public statements speaking up for the thousands of victims and survivors of his war crimes, to push for accountability and to stand up for humanity. 

Bayan Sharbaj, a prominent activist from the Families for Freedom and survivor of one of the worst chemical weapons attacks of the 21st century in Ghouta, said: “What message is Assad’s invitation to COP28 sending to dictators worldwide? This conference is about protecting the environment and providing a better world for the next generation. Those invited are there to think about human safety and how to protect and preserve our planet. Assad has destroyed the Syrian environment, he has robbed the future of the next generation. We ask leaders to speak up for our loved ones, the survivors and victims of his countless crimes against humanity.”

People can support the campaign to uninvite Assad to COP28 by signing the petition