Third Anniversary of Razan Zaitouneh’s Disappearance

December 9, 2016

A finalist of the Martin Ennals Award 2016, Razan is a prominent human rights lawyer, activist, and journalist in Syria. Razan has dedicated her life to defending political prisoners, documenting crimes against humanity, and helping others free themselves from oppression and starvation.

When the Assad regime responded to peaceful protests with violence, Razan’s determination to reveal the injustices grew. These reports included the abduction, arrest, torture, and murder of peaceful protesters. Shortly after the revolution began in 2011, she co-founded the Local Coordination Committee (LCC), a broad coalition of human rights advocates for exchanging and broadcasting information. The LCC, present both on and off the internet, organized demonstrations using phones and cameras to document the events.


Portrait Film of Razan Zaitouneh


As resistance grew into civil war, with the use of chemical weapons and other tools of destruction, she founded the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which works to document the death toll and spread reports about conditions in Syria’s prisons. With the VDC, she compiled lists of the detained, the executed, and the disappeared.

On December 9, 2013, a group of masked gunmen stormed the VDC office in Douma, a city near Damascus that was under siege, and kidnapped Razan along with her husband, Wael Hamada, and their two colleagues, Nazem Al Hamadi and Samera Al Khalil. Today, their whereabouts remain unknown.