On October 6, the United States and the Kingdom of the Netherlands co-hosted the high-level Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) and Syria Survivors of Torture Initiative (SOTI) Donor Conference in Washington, DC. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall delivered the keynote remarks and announced the public launch of the SOTI.
At the meeting, the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States came together to show their political and financial support for justice and accountability in Syria, and to reaffirm that in light of the dire situation it remains critical to continue to document abuses and provide assistance to torture survivors, former detainees, and their families.
Launched in 2012, the SJAC is a Syrian-led organization working inside Syria to comprehensively collect and preserve documentation of violations and abuses committed by all sides of the conflict for transitional justice efforts. The SOTI is a new effort that addresses the physical, psychosocial, and legal needs of Syrian survivors of torture and other gross human rights violations. Led by the Center for the Victims of Torture (CVT), SOTI is implemented by several Syrian-led organizations and with Syrian mental health and psychosocial service providers.
Through the SJAC and SOTI initiatives, the United States and like-minded partners underscore in no uncertain terms the condemnation of abuses by all parties, while establishing the international communitys commitment to address the needs of survivors and the demand for accountability.
Source: U.S. State Department