Special Reports  ::   Watheq – Document Campaign in Qamishli City


Watheq – Document Campaign in Qamishli City

Violation Documentation Center in Syria
In collaboration with
Sawa youth Coalition and Eridu Center for Civil Society
(Hasakah Governorate: Qamishli City/ Qamishlo)

August 2013

 



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Introduction

     In Collaboration between VDC, Sawa Youth Coalition and Eridu Center for Civil Society and Democracy, the Watheq/"Document" Campaign started in the city of Qamishli, al-Hasakah on 08/20/2013 by a range of distinctive activities carried out by a number of human rights activists who are interested in monitoring and documenting violations of human rights and the dissemination of human rights culture.


     Those activities, essentially, aim at promoting the culture of monitoring and documenting the violations in Qamishli, and encouraging the citizens to participate in monitoring and documentation in a way that allows them a role in claiming their rights, preserving and protecting them, and bringing the perpetrators to justice in the future so as such violations not to be repeated in prospective Syria. The campaign addressed the City of Qamishli in particular because of its rich ethnic and religious diversity as it is home to many of the components of the Syrian people.
        The campaign emphasized on integrating the culture of human rights in our societies and on the fact that rights and justice are for all people, regardless of their diverse backgrounds and against all the parties committing violations against the Syrian people.

   The Organizers tried to deliver the idea that all data and information gathered are for Syrians and their future.

 

To View a promo on (Document Campaign) in the city of Qamishli, please visit the following link:

http://youtu.be/NS9qKsEqRzA

 

 


The Campaign Activities


First: Forms Distribution:

Activists in the city have distributed more than 1,200 blank forms to document the various violations. The citizens had to fill the forms with the help and supervision of the trainers.


Types of distributed forms:

1 – Forms of documenting martyrs
2 – Forms of documenting detainees
3 – Forms of documenting kidnapping cases
4 – Forms of documenting the missing
5 – Forms of documenting violations of non-official parties
6 – Forms of documenting toxic gases and chemical weapons use

* An Image showing the distributing and training of the attendance on how to deal with the forms of documentation.

 

 

* Training the attendance to deal with the forms for documentation:

 


Second: Introductory seminars on documentation and an explanation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    Those seminars were held with participation of lawyers and jurists. It also included other sets of the detailed information that should be provided during monitoring and documenting violations.
The First Seminar:

     It was held at the "Assyrian Organization's Office" in Qamishli, in the presence of distinct activists and jurists. The seminar included a lecture by the lawyer "Avene Mahmoud", who has dealt with the importance and the steps of documentation in details. She has also highlighted the information and the requirements for the practical documentation process such as; the full name, the age, and the job, in addition to the type, place and time of the committed violation. Photos and videos are also required while documenting any violations.

*an Image of the lawyer "Avene Mahmoud" while delivering the lecture.

 


 To view extracts from the videotaped seminar, please visit the following link:*

http://youtu.be/-x7owyxNO74

 


The Second Seminar:

     It was held at "Chawshka Women Center" in Qamishli in the presence of a group of lawyers and activists as well. It included a lecture by the lawyer "Hanna", who has explained the importance of documentation and shed light on the ways and mechanisms of studying and documenting violations, in addition to an introductory part on the human rights and violations to those rights.


     Various forms for documenting violations have also been distributed with a detailed explanation on the way to employ them.

 

 

* Part of the audience attending the seminar by the lawyer "Hanna" in "Chawshka Women Center"
 

The Third Seminar:

The third and last seminar was held in the "Democratic Assyrian Organization" in the presence of jurists and activists from the city of Qamishli. As a way of encouraging the audience to adopt the principle of documenting violations on the community level,  speeches were delivered by former detainees (Siraj Kalash) and (Samuel Somi) who had documented their experience in the regime's prisons with all the violations they had witnessed. Following, the detainees and the audience discussed the importance and ways of documenting such cases.

 

 

 

*Part of the audience attending at the "Democratic Assyrian Organization"  

 


*The two detainees explaining their experiences:

A short video of messages by former detainees was also displayed in an attempt to encourage people to document violations:
http://youtu.be/NS9qKsEqRzA

 

 

Third: many cartoon brochures on documentation and its importance and the types of violations were distributed:

* A copy of the brochure:


 

Fourth: Awareness Posters

About 1000 of awareness posters that contain the Campaign's slogans and objectives have been posted on the walls of Qamishli City.
Some of the posters, which have been distributed by the activists, say:

 
- Our rights are not a grant by anybody.
- You are the revolution….The revolution grants your rights.
- A right is never lost, as long as someone strives to claim it.
- Document to deliver your message.
- Unjust I call him he who violates my right.
- My rights will remain intact.

- Today's documentation is your children's future.

- Documentation is not for international organizations or the outside….. Documentation is to preserve the rights of those who have sacrificed their lives.
- Documentation is to preserve the memories of martyrs, to preserve all they had bestowed upon the country, to try to make a future for their children.
- Documentation is for injustice, killing, detaining, and torturing not to be repeated.
- Documentation is to stop anybody trying to repeat the unjust regime's actions under the pretext of the revolution, to tell him that I have revolted for my right and dignity.
- Documentation is for all of us to be partners in saving our rights and dignity against the criminal regime and against any person or entity trying to do us unjust.

 

 


 

 

Fifth: The publishing of short videos to explain the concepts of documentation and human rights

In order to reach the largest number of the society members, activists have prepared three short videos with simplified drawing (Cartoon) to deliver the concepts and ideas in a simplified language, and to give the basic information needed to be known by the citizens.
The Three cartoon videos:

1-Explains the inherited rights of the humans and the violations to those rights. To watch the video please visit the link below:

http://youtu.be/WVqWDfmIhL8
2- Explains the concept of documentation, its importance and benefits. To watch the video please visit the link below:
http://youtu.be/wt1zfB8tc4o
3 - Explains the proceedings and stages of documentation. To watch the video please visit the link below:

http://youtu.be/j2avnIdGU1U

 

Conclusion

     The Campaign had a considerable influence on the population as an indication of the positive response it received and the importance of human rights issue that requires the participation of everyone to document the various violations of human rights and to preserve the rights of those affected and their families in the future.

 

         This campaign has been launched in Qamishli among many other areas as "Document Campaign" began first in Raqqa, and then in the cities of Mayadeen and Asharah in Deir-Ezzor governorate, and now in the city of Qamishli in Hasakah governorate.
     Currently, preparations are being made to launch the campaign in Malikia city in Hasakah governorate and then in some Eastern Gouta's cities in Damascus Suburbs.


     VDC- in collaboration with human and civil rights centers- aims at engaging the citizens in the process of documentation and to have access to the largest possible number of people to disseminate the culture of human rights in our societies and to ensure that those violations are well documented, taking into consideration the legal rules for human rights documentation.



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