Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights

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Group.png Al-Marsad   Facebook WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
HeadquartersMajdal Shams
InterestsGolan Heights
Human rights organisation that operates in the occupied Golan Heights.

Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights is an independent, not-for-profit international human rights organisation with no religious or political affiliation that operates in the Golan Heights.[1] The Golan Heights region is internationally recognised as Syrian territory occupied by Israel, although Israel asserts it has a right to retain control over the area.[2] The organisation was created in October 2003 and is run from Majdal Shams.[3] It was the first human rights organisation founded in the Golan.[4]

Al-Marsad is registered with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits,[5][6] and is a member of the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)[7] and Convenio Palestina 2015.[8]

Visit by Scottish Tories

Following a visit in August 2016 to the Golan Heights by a delegation of Scottish Conservative politicians, Al-Marsad director Dr Nizar Ayoub wrote two letters to Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson asking about the visit to occupied Syrian Golan but without response.[9]

Dr Ayoub said:

"Given this lack of clarification, I am highly concerned that the Scottish Conservative party appears to condone the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements – illegal under international law – in the occupied Syrian Golan." The group said it was "highly concerning" if human rights issues, in particular, in the occupied territories are "not considered or trumped by business interests".

Dr Ayoub told Ms Davidson in his letters:

"As I imagine that you are aware, such settlements are illegal according to international law, and their construction and expansion at the expense of the native Syrian inhabitants have been repeatedly condemned by the international community.
"I am highly concerned that the delegation has visited a winery in an illegal Israeli settlement without providing any explanation of the purpose of the visit. In effect, this sends a message that the Scottish Conservative party endorses the illegal activities of this settlement - built on land illegally appropriated from its original Syrian owners. Even more worrying is the fact that the Scottish Conservative party has refused to answer questions about whether the delegation raised the broader issue of the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan during its visit."

Israel borders the Golan Heights

Dr Ayoub was concerned that the Scottish Chief Whip John Lamont, in describing the visit, had said:

“On Israel’s northern border with Syria we witnessed first-hand the devastating civil war raging metres away from Israel."

Dr Ayoub told Ms Davidson:

"The only part of Syria that Israel borders is the occupied Syrian Golan. The fighting in Syria is not taking place metres away from Israel, it is taking place metres away from the occupied Syrian Golan. From Mr Lamont’s comments, it appears that he considers that the occupied Syrian Golan is part of Israel, which it is not. I am highly disappointed that the delegation did not contact Al-Marsad or other representatives of the Syrian community in the occupied Syrian Golan in order to discuss the daily challenges faced by the remaining native Syrian population in the Syrian Golan due to Israel's illegal occupation. This would have ensured that the delegation obtained a more balanced view of the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan."[10]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Ruth Davidson slammed over high-level Tory visit to illegal Israeli settlementArticle13 November 2016Martin WilliamsAl-Marsad director Dr Nizar Ayoub told Ruth Davidson: "The only part of Syria that Israel borders is the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The fighting in Syria is not taking place metres away from Israel, it is taking place metres away from the occupied Syrian Golan."


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