Activist Speaks About Syrian Atrocities at the UN | Freedom House

Activist Speaks About Syrian Atrocities at the UN

< back to Freedom At Issue Blog

Hadeel Kouki is a young Syrian activist who was detained and tortured by Bashar al-Assad’s regime for demanding her basic human rights. At the most recent session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, she spoke on behalf of Freedom House about her treatment by the regime and called on the Human Rights Council to take action to stop ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against its people.

Watch Hadeel Kouki's testimony, starting at 1:35:16. Read Kouki's remarks below:
 

 

 

Remarks delivered by Hadeel Kouki before the UN Human Rights Council

Thank you, Madam President.

My name is Hadeel Kouki and I am a 20-year-old student from Syria. I am a human rights victim of President Bashar Al-Assad.

“What drives my activism?
I want freedom. I have seen too much suffering of fellow Syrians who spend years in prison merely for expressing thought. My people deserve to live in  a free, tolerant and democratic Syria."

-Hadeel Kouki

The Syrian ambassador told this council that his government is not to blame for the mass killings, and that he pointed the finger at others, both inside and outside the country.

I have come here to bear witness, and to tell you that this is not true.

Last year, I distributed leaflets calling on Syrians to march peacefully in the name of freedom. I was a student at the University of Aleppo.

I was arrested several times. I spent 52 days in prison. I was brutally tortured. I was raped by the security forces.

They deprived me of my university. They tortured me more than usual because I am a Christian, and they don’t want minorities to participate in the revolution and show their opposition to Assad.

They came again to arrest me, for providing medical aid to injured protesters. I went into hiding, with nomads in the desert.  It was December, freezing cold. There was no heat or hot water. I was scared by the unknown future.

Finally, I escaped to Turkey, then to Europe and now Egypt. But even in Egypt, Assad’s men attacked me in my house, just 20 days ago. They beat me badly, and threatened to throw acid on me unless I stop my activities.

What drives my activism?

I want freedom. I have seen too much suffering of fellow Syrians who spent years in prison merely for expressing a thought. My people deserve to live in free, tolerant, and democratic Syria.

I ask: When will the killings stop? Do we not deserve the right to life? When will the world help us?

Thank you, Madam President.

 




 














 

Analyses and recommendations offered by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of Freedom House.

Share this story