UN chief Antonio Guterres and UN human rights chief Volker Turk call for creating a new institution to help locate tens of thousands of Syrians missing since 2011 civil war.

"The figure of 100,000 is often cited; the real number may well be far more,'' says UN human rights chief Volker Turk. (AA Archive)

The UN chief has urged the 193-member General Assembly [UNGA] to establish a new international institution to clarify the fate and whereabouts of 100,000 missing Syrians.

Syrians deserve to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones, Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday. 

''Justice demands it – peace and reconciliation depend on it,'' Guterres told the UNGA.

An estimated 100,000 have gone missing since the country's civil war began in 2011 when anti-regime protests were brutally repressed during the Arab Spring.

''People in every part of the country and across all divides have loved ones who are missing, including family members who were forcibly disappeared, abducted, tortured, and arbitrarily detained,'' said Guterres.

''We must work to resolve this deeply painful situation with determination and urgency.''

'Syrians deserve no less'

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said the conflict, now in its 13th year, was a human rights tragedy.

''It is impossible to establish with certainty how many people have been disappeared in Syria. The figure of 100,000 is often cited; the real number may well be far more,'' said Turk.

"The institution must be based in a location where survivors and families feel safe, and it must guarantee robust data protection."

Turk said that children are ''growing up with a gaping absence where their father should be. Wives, mothers and sisters are struggling to support their families.''

He said there would be no enduring peace in Syria without progress on the issue of missing persons as he urged the General Assembly to consider the establishment of a new institution to bring clarity to what has happened to all the people who have been disappeared.

''We owe the people of Syria no less,'' he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies