Establishing announcement of the Association of Victims of Chemical Weapons

On August 19, 2022, the establishment of the Association of Victims of Chemical Weapons (AVCW) was announced during a seminar held in Berlin in collaboration with the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.

The seminar was titled “Together for the Rights of Victims and Preventing Impunity”, which was moderated by Thaer Hejazi, who claimed in the opening speech that the establishment of the association coincided with the ninth anniversary of the chemical massacre in Eastern Ghouta. He emphasized that this occasion should not only be a reminder of pain but also a reminder to take action

Dr. Saleem Namour, the association’s president, mentioned that the announcement decision to establish the association came after nearly two years of discussions and deliberations among the victims. All This led to the election of a board of directors and appointing Dr Saleem as president.

We are a several countries resident group of survivors and families of victims of the crimes against humanity committed by Bashar al-Assad regime against civilians using chemical weapons,” stated Dr. Namour about the association.
We reached out and discussed that we must do something, there are victims, massive violations, and the usage of weapons of mass destruction. The world is doing nothing. We formed this association, the Association of Victims of Chemical Weapons, for the rights of the victims and to prevent impunity. No matter what we do, we cannot bring the victims back to life, but the rights of the victims are demanding the perpetrators accountable.

Dr. Namour also demonstrated the objectives of the association. Holding all those involved in using chemical weapons accountable, holding responsible for those who corrupted the facts, working to preserve the true narrative against falsification efforts, collaborating with documentation and investigation efforts, raising global awareness of Assad’s chemical crimes, securing all the rights of victims and survivors through commemorating their memory, and cooperating with global efforts to ban the use of chemical weapons.

Mazen Darwish, the director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression and a founding partner of the association, highlighted that the establishment of the association is “an additional step towards empowering victims and their families to lead the process of demanding justice and accountability.” He emphasized that “the pursuit of victims for their rights is not just about seeking justice and holding criminals accountable; it’s not only a Syrian issue when we witness the efforts of regional conflict parties’ sponsors trying to reach settlements at the expense of people’s rights. Instead, it is an effort to protect civilians worldwide.” Darwish added, “These efforts should be gathered in a global movement led by the victims to achieve sustainable justice and peace.” Dr. Amani Ballour, a member of the association, highlighted that “the use of chemical weapons was one of the regime’s worst violations, and the 2013 Ghouta massacre was the most horrific of these uses.” She indicated that this massacre marked a “point of no return,” where the regime elevated its genocidal violations to a higher level. She expressed hope that the association, in its future, could become “a voice for the victims and a voice revealing the regime’s violations.”


This post is also available in: العربية Français