I About the organization (STJ)

Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) is an independent, nongovernmental organization whose members include Syrian human rights defenders, advocates and academics of different backgrounds and nationalities. The initiative strives for SYRIA, where all Syrian citizens (males and females) have dignity, equality, justice and equal human rights.

 

II Our Vision

STJ believes that uncovering the truth behind violations, rendering justice to victims, and the promotion of human rights are all key to achieving a genuine and lasting peace in Syria. We believe this can only be accomplished through a period of real “transitional justice”, which involves rebuilding the Syrian state based on the rule of law, justice, human rights, and equal citizenship for all Syrians as a guarantee for a future free from violence and conflict. STJ realizes that professional and highly accurate documentation according to human rights standards is the first step to uncovering the truth behind violations and achieving justice for victims and their families.

 

III Our Mission

STJ's work focuses on human rights advocacy and the documentation of violations in Syria. All our members have experience working individually or with local and international organizations in the fields of documenting human rights violations in Syria, breaches of international humanitarian law, as well as advocacy in international forums. While ensuring access to accurate information is our primary objective, STJ’s activities extend beyond this. Our professional team of activists completes the next steps, whether through advocacy or applying pressure to governments and other actors, or our involvement in the prosecution of human rights violators.

 

At the same time, STJ aims to promote the concepts of human rights within Syrian society and to support individuals, small initiatives, emerging groups, and all citizens in taking their first steps toward claiming their rights. We accomplish this through proper human rights education and training for Syrians, while also informing them of their own rights and duties as citizens. STJ also works to document and publish testimonies from eyewitnesses and victims who have been subjected to human rights violations, helping them to tell their stories using various mediums. This process of professionally documentation will help to shed light on victims’ stories, as well as facilitate the following process of advocacy and prosecution. Stories and testimonies are presented in various ways; such as writing, photography, sketches, and audio recordings.

 

IV Our Values

STJ firmly believes that human rights are basic rights deeply rooted in all humans and every individual shall be entitled to their own human rights equally without any discrimination. All these rights are interlinked, mutually reinforcing, indivisible and inseparable. STJ is a Syrian-led organization that aims to promote human rights for all Syrians, including equality, dignity, freedom, and justice – indivisibly, correlated, and complementary to each other.

 

V Our Story

Initially conceived as a publication containing stories from survivors of arbitrary detention, torture, and enforced disappearance, the STJ project expanded to become the initial building block of the first Syrian organization specializing in documenting human rights violations according to a professional and independent methodology. STJ also specializes in documenting stories and testimonies of victims, in addition to providing them with support and advocacy to ensure protection against impunity and reinforce the idea of accountability.

 

VI Methodology & Sections: The STJ website has seven main sections:

 

 1. News (Homepage - Information verification)

Contains news about human rights violations and general topics related to justice, accountability and other human rights issues. In this section, STJ’s findings depend on a clear work methodology which is unique in verification and presentation. 

Our organization relies on direct eyewitness reports from STJ members, collaborative activists who display a high standard of integrity and credibility in line with our membership requirements, or other credible sources such as relatives of victims. Reports in the “news” section are categorized into different classes according to the quantity and nature of the information available on a certain violation or report.

A - First level: "initial reports”, represented in red, is the first class assigned to news of an alleged violation. Information from a credible source describing the incident and the time and location it took place is required for a report to acquire this class.

B - Second level: in order for a report to be classified as "reliable information”, it must provide details about the description of the incident and the time and place it happened. In addition, information regarding the context or circumstances in which the violation or incident occurred must be available as well as a testimony from at least one reliable source (one of STJ’s reporters, direct eyewitnesses, field activists, or relatives of the victims). After this information is provided the item’s class color will change to blue.

C - Third level: "confirmed and verified", the final classification, is assigned only after all the above mentioned information has been provided (description, time, place, context, and a primary source), in addition to another independent source, or two other credible sources that differ from the initial source (one of the center's reporters, direct eyewitnesses, field activists, or relatives of the victims). The item’s class color then changes to green.

 

In addition to the fields of evidence mentioned above, other fields will be added to the same report. These will not directly affect the report’s classification but will add to its value and form a bridge to later steps and to other sections of the website. These fields are: "suspected offender” responsible for the violation or the act; "supporting documents" where verified images, videos, or leaked documents are uploaded; and the "available testimonies" field, which will contain statements directly shared by one or more of the sources listed above.

The STJ website also contains a "special form" which will allow activists to send information on any violation to the organization through the website. The news team will review the report, reconnect with its source, and verify it with the same methodology listed above before publishing the information for the public.

 

2. Reports & Press Releases: A key section of the website which issues the following reports:

 

     A - Special Reports: Thematic reports focusing on issues including:

"Life under siege, Deprivation of humanitarian and medical assistance and siege -  Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, deaths in detention - Discrimination on religious, ethnic or national grounds - Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions - Disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks - Torture and ill treatment of detainees - Internally displaced and refugees - Gender equality."

Special reports will also be categorized according to date as well as Syrian province or country (reports on violations against Syrians outside Syria’s international borders, for example). This section is related to specific incidents and the special reports are prepared according to the available information and testimonies for each incident or violations. STJ uses the same methodology in both its special and general reports.

     B - Press Releases: press releases on topics related to human rights regarding detainees, forced disappearances and other issues of significance to STJ’s mission.

    C - Commentaries & Dispatches: This is a space where you can write your comments as articles within the frame of human rights. It's a dedicated area to Syrian and non-Syrian human rights defenders so they can write and enrich the discussed topics on the level of human rights, documenting violations, justice and accountability.

    D - Weekly reports: weekly summaries of violations that have been recorded between Monday morning and Sunday night of each week, and have been collected and verified according to STJ's main methodology. To subscribe to our newsletter and receive all reports including weekly reports please follow this link.

    E -  Monthly reports: monthly summaries of the most prominent violations that have occurred since the beginning of the month until its last day. These reports may also include some statistics and testimonies that have already been checked and verified via STJ’s methodology.

 

3. Stories and Testimonies

An independent section of the website that deals with documenting, recording, and presenting stories and testimonies of survivors using various mediums; such as writings, video, audio, or art and sketches. STJ publishes broad content related to human rights issues, including:

"Life under siege, Deprivation of humanitarian and medical assistance and siege -  Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, deaths in detention - Discrimination on religious, ethnic or national grounds - Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions - Disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks - Torture and ill treatment of detainees - Internally displaced and refugees - Gender equality."

Additionally, reports will also be categorized according to date as well as Syrian province or country.

The STJ website also provides a "special form" for victims and their families to share their stories and suffering in accordance with a specific methodology. This information is received directly by the “stories and testimonies” team, who will then reconnect with the victims and their families to discuss appropriate means of documenting and communicating their story or testimony according to STJ’s methodology.

 

4. Campaigns

This section contains campaigns that are run by the center, or by friendly local or international organizations that the center is part of. It also provides a special form that allows activists, citizens, and victims along with their families to propose a specific campaign. The special form was developed by the center and contains preliminary information that is sent directly to the campaigns department. Management will then reconnect with the campaign’s initial backer and commence preparations to begin the process of advocacy, mobilization, and support.

 

5. Donate to STJ

This section is intended for organizations, public figures, individuals, and human rights advocates around the world to donate to the organization, a particular department, or a particular STJ project in a safe and secure way.

 

6. About Us

Contains general information about the organization, the work team, ways to communicate with us and subscribe to the mailing list. It also telling any available job vacancies.

 

7. Database

This section contains STJ’s database of case files specially designed for the Syrian crisis and according to international standards in documenting human rights violations. The following topics are included in this section:

"Names of potential perpetrators; Detainees or detention survivors; forcibly disappeared; Survivors of torture and inhuman treatment; Missing persons; the kidnapped; Secret and public places of detention in Syria; Torture methods followed in detention centers; and Killings." These topics are not made available to the public and can only be accessed by STJ’s management team. Some parts of the data may be published in special or monthly reports, or through press releases as deemed necessary.