As the protracted and chaotic conflict in Syria continues into its fifth year, Syrians of all backgrounds are being subjected to gross human rights violations. A growing number of parties to the conflict, including the Government and the Islamic State, display disregard for international legal conventions and employ tactics such as sexual violence, murder, and torture that have resulted in mass civilian casualties, large-scale displacement, and the destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage.
Peter Bouckaert is Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director, coordinating the organization’s response to major wars and other human rights crises. A Belgian-born Stanford Law School graduate, Bouckaert has conducted fact-finding missions around the world, including currently documenting Syrian refugees in Europe.
Sareta Ashraph specializes in international criminal, humanitarian, and human rights law and has served since 2012 as the Senior Analyst on the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, investigating and reporting on violations of international law in the context of ongoing events in Syria.