Issue 364: Clash at UN’s Syria Session: 20-year-old Torture Victim Confronts Assad Regime

Clash at UN’s Syria Session: 20-year-old
Torture Victim Confronts Assad Regime

When Syria and its allies Russia, China and Cuba told lies to the recent UN Human Rights Council session on the Al-Houleh massacre, UN Watch brought 20-year-old torture victim Hadeel Kouki to tell the truth. The delegates—several of whom privately thanked UN Watch for contributing dramatic first-person testimony to the debate—in the end voted for a firm condemnation of the Assad regime. Read also: 55 NGOs & MPs: Time for UNESCO to finally expel Syria from its human rights committee

UN Watch Speech to Emergency UN Session on Syria
Delivered by Ms. Hadeel Kouki, June 1, 2012

Thank you, Madam President.

My name is Hadeel Kouki, and I am a 20-year-old exile from Hasake, Syria. 

On March 10, 2011, I was arrested by the regime for distributing pro-democracy leaflets at my university in Aleppo. I was thrown in jail for forty days.

In August, and again in October, I was arrested for bringing medical supplies. I was thrown back in prison for another forty days. I was tortured, and abused.

The massacre in El-Houleh was clearly an act of the Assad regime. The village where some 130 people were brutally murdered has been known from the beginning of the revolution as one of the most vibrant centers in the struggle for a free and democratic Syria.

I personally knew some of the people who were murdered. Fatima, only 25 years old, was my friend at Aleppo university, where she was studying history. She and her two infant daughters were found decapitated in their house in El-Houleh. Her son’s body was found with his arms and legs cut off. 

Fatima’s husband Mohamed was killed by Assad’s forces two months earlier, when he tried to shield peaceful demonstrators from deadly bullets. This is further proof that the people of El-Houleh were massacred for their opposition to the Assad regime. 

Madam President,

I ask: Can the people behind such atrocities really be trusted to carry out the Annan Plan to end violence? 

How is it that at least three of the governments which shield Assad, and aid his mass murder, are allowed to sit here on this council of human rights?

Why did the United Nations recently elect Syria to UNESCO’s human rights committee? What kind of signal does this send?

When will this council demand that Assad be removed?

Madam President,

I wish to thank those friendly governments that have provided vital aid to me and many other victims. But as we speak, my people are being killed. The time to act is now.

Thank you, Madam President.

UN Watch