4 April 2023
SBC’s investigations team was awarded the Judith Lee Stronach Award for human rights defenders by the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) during CJA’s 25th anniversary gala for our investigation into the August 2012 Daraya massacre. One of our lead investigators, Aseil Abu-Baker, accepted the award in San Francisco on behalf of the team and delivered a moving speech (see below) regarding justice and accountability that should go outside the bounds of what the law has proscribed.
SBC’s investigations team would like to dedicate this award to the people of Daraya, as our work could never have been possible without their commitment, bravery and unyielding demand for justice.
Aseil’s acceptance speech at CJA’s 25th anniversary gala in San Francisco:
"First and foremost, I would like to dedicate this award to the people of Darayya who courageously shared their testimonies in hopes that the world would pay attention.
Toni Morrison once said that our work is to bear witness. To take an account of what once was. So that any place we love will not be forgotten.
With their accounts, and their fearless demand for justice, Darayya’s message to the world is: We will not be erased.
And we, at the Syrian British Consortium, are honored to have played a small role in telling their story.
Thank you to The Center for Justice and Accountability for its example, and endless support and direction on this project.
At times, justice and accountability can feel like elusive concepts rather than tangible outcomes; and perhaps we have limited the horizons, indeed our imaginations, when the law and political will define what is possible.
And while the law has certainly paved the way, I would like to imagine justice and accountability that go outside the bounds of what the law has proscribed: where the law is not the ceiling, but one of many thresholds from which we cross over into a better world, where every life is valued, protected, and free.
There is a long, long…long road ahead, but I believe that through our sustained and collective efforts, that road will be dotted with life-affirming blooms. As long as we are here, we will always fight; we will always love.
I hope that our humble efforts at SBC are a thread in the tapestry toward dignity, humanity, and justice for the Syrian people, and people the world over."
To see SBC's full acceptance speech, please click on the link below: