The Day After Association (TDA) is an independent, Syrian-led civil society organization working to support democratic transition in Syria. In August 2012, TDA completed work on a comprehensive approach to managing the challenges of a post-Assad transition in Syria. The initial Day After Project brought together a group of Syrians representing a large spectrum of the Syrian opposition — including senior representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC), members of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC), and unaffiliated opposition figures from inside Syria and the diaspora representing all major political trends and components of Syrian society — to participate in an independent transition planning process.
The TDA report, “The Day After: Supporting a Democratic Transition in Syria”, provides a detailed framework of principles, goals and recommendations from within the Syrian opposition for addressing challenges in six key fields: rule of law; transitional justice; security sector reform; constitutional design; electoral system design; and post-conflict social and economic reconstruction. TDA has since shifted its focus from transition planning efforts to implementation of recommendations presented in the TDA report, opening its office in Istanbul to support this mission.
Our Goals and Core Principles
TDA identifies the following as goals that should guide the efforts of transitional authorities — progress toward the achievement of these goals will increase prospects for a successful post-Assad transition:
- Citizenship and equality of all citizens, rather than sectarian, ethnic, or gender considerations, should be decisive in relations between individuals and the state.
- Syria should be a civil state in which the role of the security forces should be to protect the security and human rights of all citizens.
- Unity of state and territory together with elements of decentralization will allow for citizens’ participation on all levels.
- The economy should be managed to realize social justice, human development, sustainable development, and the protection of natural resources.
- The new political leadership and government should demonstrate a clear commitment to democratic principles and processes to break with authoritarian legacies.
- A new national identity needs to be developed, strengthened and promoted. Unity needs to be fostered among all components of Syrian society, and a consensus on the core values and fundamental principles of the nation as well as the new framework for governance needs to be built. Also, citizens need to be educated and empowered on the principles and practice of democracy.
These goals, which are at the heart of Syria’s revolution, cannot be achieved by Syrian leaders on behalf of the people but must be realized by the Syrian people themselves through a process of civic education, national dialogue, and public consultation that allows the people to express their fears, needs, and aspirations directly to their leaders and each other. Such a process should be grounded in the following core principles:
- Inclusiveness and Participation: An inclusive and participatory transitional process is one that includes all components of Syrian society. Inclusion is achieved by encouraging public participation to the greatest extent possible. Participation is a natural and legitimate right of the Syrian people, both to express freely their opinions, interests, and preferences to a transitional authority and to be confident that transitional authorities will be responsive to and promote inclusive participation.
- Transparency and Accountability: A transparent transitional process is one that is conducted in an open manner, through effective mechanisms for deliberation. Transparency is essential if Syrians are to be informed about and participate in shaping a new Syria. Accountability of public officials ensures that that the opinions and preferences of the Syrian public are taken into consideration by the transitional authority.
- Consensus: A transitional process will benefit when decisions reflect as broad a consensus as possible among all components of Syrian society, and where decisions are reached by deliberation, negotiation, and persuasion to the greatest extent possible. This, along with inclusion, participation, transparency, and accountability, guarantees that decisions taken by transitional authorities reflect the interests and the aspirations of the nation, and not just one societal interest.