A woman from Syria

Razan Zaitouneh is a Syrian human rights defender and writer. In 2011, she received the Anna Politkovskaya prize and the European Parliament’s Sakhorov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Recently, she was the recipient of the 2013 International Women of Courage Award.

On 9 December 2013, she was – along with her husband and two colleagues – abducted by masked armed men and taken to unknown whereabouts.They were kidnapped from the office for the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) and the Local Development and Small Projects Support (LDSPS) in the Damascus suburb of Douma, an area under the control of a number of armed groups that is being besieged by government forces. The VDC is an independent NGO that has been mainly documenting human rights abuses committed by the Syrian government in the context of the conflict. The LDSPS provides humanitarian assistance, particularly to medical centres in areas like Eastern Ghouta.

Her current fate and whereabouts are unknown. “The road ahead is still long and riddled with obstacles and mines. The end is still blocked, and what lies beyond it remains unknown – what lies beyond the siege, the revolution, and the war. It is a dream binding us all, as though we were one long human chain carrying pickaxes and moving slowly but steadily down that road”.

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