Syria in change – solution for the Kurdish issue

By YASA (Kurdish Centre for Legal Studies & Consultancy): 

Since 15th March of this year, citizens rose up against the regime in Syria, which is considered as one of the most brutal and repressive regimes in the Arab world. The reaction of the Syrian regime to the protests of the Syrian people has shown this brutality. Thousands of Syrians have paid with their lives for their demands for freedom, democracy and human rights.

The human rights situation in Syria is tragic. There is no freedom of speech or press. Controlling the media with strict censorship is part of the everyday life of  the Syrians. The regime arrests and tortures human rights activists and oppositionists. Many of these have been killed last year under torture in indecent conditions in prisons. The victims of torture often suffer lifelong problems as a result of physical and psychological torture during detention; many of them die after torture. A network of security establishments with thousands of agents control the daily life of the Syrians. Daily violations of human rights such as arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearance of ‘inconvenient’ persons are documented.

For nearly 50 years there is no legally existing opposition. The Baath party is the sole controlling and dominant political party in Syria. Beside the opposition, people who belong to national and religious minorities are the biggest victims of persecution by the State – particularly the Kurds, who are the second largest nation in the country and have been suffering for several decades from oppression and violation of their rights. The government is trying to solve the Kurdish issue through a policy of racism based on assimilation and forced Arabization, which bans the use of the Kurdish language and does not allow any Kurdish media.

In 1962 the Syrian government withdrew citizenship from thousands of Kurds. These and their children lost their basic rights, such as the right to their own property, education and the right of registration and documentation of their marriage, and the right of nomination and election, and the right of employment in state institutions. The Kurds have had their land expropriated without any compensation and the land has been given to Arab farmers from other regions who were brought to the Kurdish areas. The aim of these measures is to change the demographic face of the Kurdish areas.

The aim of the protests taking place in Syria is to achieve a democratic change. The following demands should be quickly realized:

1.  Stop the violence by the state against the citizens immediately.

2.  Let the media and foreign journalists enter the country and cover the events taking place in Syria and report freely to the world public opinion.

3. The release of all political prisoners.

4. The international community shall respond more determinedly to condemn the misdeeds of the Syrian regime. As the increased tension and escalation in Syria could have serious consequences for the region and threaten world peace. The UN Security Council therefore must do its duty under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, followed by economic sanctions and imposing a weapons embargo on Syria.

5. The European Union must act more resolutely toward the Syrian regime and stop all cooperation with the regime. The behaviour of the Syrian regime towards the Syrian people must be reflected in the European Neighbourhood Policy towards Syria.

6. Stop the implementation of the asylum seekers agreement signed by the German government with the Syrian government, and no deportations of asylum seekers to Syria, where their life is in danger.

7. The German government should stop its cooperation with Syria and increase diplomatic pressure on Syria, pronounce the Syrian ambassador in Berlin persona non grata and ask him to leave Germany.

The following objectives should be achieved in the medium and long term, to ensure the transition to a democratic state, in which human rights are guaranteed and respected:

1. The process of democratic reform to achieve equality between all groups and national and religious minorities in the country.

2. Allowing the establishment of political parties and the repeal of Article VIII of the Constitution, which monopolized authority under the Baath Party, and the elimination of the one-party system.

3. Establishment of a National Council with the participation of all the groups in Syria on an equal basis to write a new democratic constitution which takes into account the national and religious pluralism in the country, and guarantees freedom of opinion and the media and the separation of powers.

The constitution shall guarantee a modern election system and the state of law and should gain its legitimacy through a referendum. The constitution shall ensure the protection of national and religious minorities and the recognition of their fundamental rights and guarantee them more participation and self determination rights and replace the centralised government structure with a federal system. The Syrian people shall decide for themselves and shape their destiny freely and achieve their political and cultural development.

4.  Solution of the Kurdish issue in Syria based on the democratic principle of self-determination rights, within the unity of the Syrian state, through:

  • Ensure the participation of the Kurds in the political and economic life of Syria.
  • Ensure the right of return for all Kurds who were removed from their areas.
  • Recompense all Kurdish farmers who were stripped of their property and deported from their areas.
  • Elimination of the Arabic belt.
  • The constitutional recognition of the political and cultural rights of Kurds.
  • Allow the use of the Kurdish language and open education in Kurdish in schools and universities.
  • Return Syrian nationality to the Kurds who lost it arbitrarily and recompense them and ensure for them all of their civil rights.
  • Development of the Kurdish areas which suffer underdevelopment as a result of the racial policy of Syrian governments over the last decades.

(This article has been lightly edited ).

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