Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad

Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 5:30pm

Location: 1539 Longworth House Office Building

This event is presented by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in coordination with the Syrian Emergency Task force and the U.S. Holocause Memorial Museum


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a film screening followed by a panel discussion of Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad, a film by Sara Afshar.  Read original article here.

Since the ongoing armed conflict in Syria began with protests in March 2011, between 250,000 and 470,000 people are estimated to have died, including tens of thousands of civilians, and millions of people have been displaced within and outside the country’s borders. The resulting humanitarian crisis is so large, and its regional implications so significant, that these aspects have at times overshadowed the brutal record of human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearance, committed by the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. In 2013 the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria determined that the use of enforced disappearance by the Syrian government was widespread and could amount to a crime against humanity.Syria Disappeared Poster TRAILER copy

The 50-minute documentary film Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad tells the story of tens of thousands of men, women and children who disappeared at the hands of the Assad regime into a network of clandestine detention centers. The film weaves together the powerful personal stories of three Syrians with evidence gathered from regime documentation smuggled out of Syria. It follows survivors of detention, families of detainees, regime defectors and international war crimes investigators as they fight to release victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Following the screening, Mazen Alhummada, whose story is chronicled in the film, and Stephen J. Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes who also appears in the film, will discuss the urgent struggle to ensure accountability for these crimes.

The screening and panel discussion will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or [email protected] or Jamie Staley (for Rep. Hultgren) at 202-226-1516 or [email protected].

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC



  • Mazen Alhummada, Syrian survivor of torture
  • Stephen J. Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Global Prevention Fellow, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide


  • Cameron Hudson, Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide

Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC

On Sunday, 24 September 2017 Group "Caesar" from Syria will be presented with the 2017 Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, for its courage in bringing the systematic torture and mass murders in Syria to the attention of the world public.  Read full article here.

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Dr. Ulrich Maly, Lord Mayor

"No impunity for the perpetrators – this objective motivated ”Caesar” and so this year’s award presentation closes the link to Nuremberg’s heritage. He himself has also said why he risked his own life in the face of this everyday horror: “Truth will prevail. […] A right is only lost if nobody stands up for it any more.”

At the festative presentation of the award Stephen Rapp, former Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, will hold the tribute to the prizewinners. 

Kenneth Roth, Exexcutive Director of Human Rights Watch and Barbara Lochbihler, Vice President of the EP Human Rights Committee will deliver a speech.

Garance Le Caisne, author of the book "Opération César: Au coeur de la machine de mort syrienne" (Operation Caesar. In the Heart of the Syrian Death Machine) will accept the prize on behalf of the prizewinners.

Message from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

"... The fact that the Nuremberg Human Rights Award is shining light on Syria this year is most welcome. This year’s prizewinner, the Caesar group, has courageously pursued the cause of human rights – in spite of the threats to its members’ own security in the midst of this brutal civil war, which has now been raging for six years. Through photographs taken in secret, it has documented how people are suffering torture, executions and abuse in Syrian prisons, images that are helping to prevent these crimes from going unpunished. Moreover, they are a harrowing reminder and an appeal to the international community, as well as to the actors in the region in particular, namely that you bear responsibility! This conflict can only be brought to an end by balancing political interests – and not by bleeding an entire country dry.

Permit me to thank the Caesar group for its courageous work in the name of human rights and to congratulate its members on winning the International Nuremberg Human Rights Award!"

SETF provides 1000 Families with bread in syria.

The Syrian Emergency Task Force provides bread for 1000 families in Syria, enough to last for the entire month and empowering a local bakery.

Internally displaced people are the most vulnerable and in need of these basic items, especially as their prices continue to increase.

SETF is dedicated to be a bridge of support from the American people directly to civilians in Syria.  Watch Video here


  • Last month, SETF also donated 7 lambs that were divided between 4 families in Idlib, Syria. 
  • We continue to see the people in Daraa benefit from the bakery we built last year economically and by feeding thousands of families with fresh bread.
  • Our school for orphans, The Wisdom House, just began its second year of Kindergarten and students are sporting their new uniforms for the first time this week.
  • In the same town as The Wisdom House, SETF and the local community just celebrated the grand opening of a center for women widowed by war called, "Tomorrow's Dawn"
  • We are now supporting a theatre program for children and adults in connection to the Wisdom House Project 

Please support us and help us sustain these amazing humanitarian initiatives that empower displaced civilians in Syria and give hope to a brighter future.


bread setf


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Falls Church, VA 22041


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