C0-Founder/Board Chair, Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ)
STJ is an independent, nongovernmental organization whose members include Syrian human rights defenders, advocates and academics of different backgrounds and nationalities. The initiative strives for SYRIA, where all Syrian citizens (males and females) have dignity, equality, justice and equal human rights.
STJ believes that uncovering the truth behind violations, rendering justice to victims, and the promotion of human rights are all key to achieving a genuine and lasting peace in Syria. We believe this can only be accomplished through a period of real “transitional justice”, which involves rebuilding the Syrian state based on the rule of law, justice, human rights, and equal citizenship for all Syrians as a guarantee for a future free from violence and conflict. STJ realizes that professional and highly accurate documentation according to human rights standards is the first step to uncovering the truth behind violations and achieving justice for victims and their families.
STJ‘s work focuses on human rights advocacy and the documentation of violations in Syria. All our members have experience working individually or with local and international organizations in the fields of documenting human rights violations in Syria, breaches of international humanitarian law, as well as advocacy in international forums. While ensuring access to accurate information is our primary objective, STJ’s activities extend beyond this. Our professional team of activists completes the next steps, whether through advocacy or applying pressure to governments and other actors, or our involvement in the prosecution of human rights violators.
At the same time, STJ aims to promote the concepts of human rights within Syrian society and to support individuals, small initiatives, emerging groups, and all citizens in taking their first steps toward claiming their rights. We accomplish this through proper human rights education and training for Syrians, while also informing them of their own rights and duties as citizens. STJ also works to document and publish testimonies from eyewitnesses and victims who have been subjected to human rights violations, helping them to tell their stories using various mediums. This process of professionally documentation will help to shed light on victims’ stories, as well as facilitate the following process of advocacy and prosecution. Stories and testimonies are presented in various ways; such as writing, photography, sketches, and audio recordings.
STJ firmly believes that human rights are basic rights deeply rooted in all humans and every individual shall be entitled to their own human rights equally without any discrimination. All these rights are interlinked, mutually reinforcing, indivisible and inseparable. STJ is a Syrian-led organization that aims to promote human rights for all Syrians, including equality, dignity, freedom, and justice – indivisibly, correlated, and complementary to each other.
Initially conceived as a publication containing stories from survivors of arbitrary detention, torture, and enforced disappearance, the STJ project expanded to become the initial building block of the first Syrian organization specializing in documenting human rights violations according to a professional and independent methodology. STJ also specializes in documenting stories and testimonies of victims, in addition to providing them with support and advocacy to ensure protection against impunity and reinforce the idea of accountability.