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Statement: It is the Syrians Who Write Their Constitution

Posted on: February 1, 2017 at 8:58 am

To:

TE Syrian negotiating parties

TE Ministers of The International Syria Support Group (ISSG)

HE Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General

HE Staffan Di Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy to Syria

We, the undersigned Syrian organizations, received with great indignation and alarm, the news of the Russian government handing a group of Syrian dissidents a copy of its suggested version of a Syrian constitution. We consider this action as an affront to the right of the Syrian people to decide the constitution and the future of their country. It is an action that reveals a mentality of an occupier that dictates its will on the occupied people, and in a way that violates the rules of national sovereignty, international law, and the right of the people to self-determination.

The undersigned Syrian civil society organizations, reaffirm their position on the need to end the war in Syria, and their commitment to a politically negotiated solution based on a peaceful political transition process to be reached in negotiations in accordance with international resolutions issued in this regard, and in line with the terms of the Geneva I Communique of the Syria Working Group issued on June 30, 2016. The undersigned organizations believe that the process of drafting a permanent Syrian constitution must come at a later stage at the end of the transition period, and that the constitution should be drafted by a National Constituent Assembly. The negotiating parties should agree upon the composition of this assembly and the procedures for electing its members. The membership of the Assembly should be based on legal and constitutional expertise, and the status of individuals and their integrity. After that, the proposed constitution should be submitted to a referendum to ensure the consent and buy in of the Syrian people.

In this context, the undersigned organizations affirm their support to the international efforts to expedite the negotiation process in Geneva, and believe that this process must be coupled with confidence-building steps among all parties in order to create the suitable conditions for the success of these negotiations. This process should be in line with the stipulations of the international resolutions issued by the Security Council in this regard; in particular:

  • A nationwide cease-fire
  • The release of detainees and abductees, men and women
  • Lifting of all sieges and the continuous and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas
  • Stopping the practice of forced displacement of the population

The undersigned emphasize that the outputs of the negotiating process should be consistent with the aspirations of the Syrian people in the establishment of a state that respects freedom, dignity and citizenship. Further, they emphasize that in the transitional phase Syria needs a constitutional declaration, or an interim constitution that focuses on the following constitutional principles:

  1. The unity, independence, and sovereignty of the Syrian territory, and the People as the source of authority and legislation.
  2. Separation of Powers, and establishing the principle of checks and balances clearly in the Constitution.
  3. The Constitution must safeguard the peaceful transfer of power, so as to prevent tyranny and dictatorship, and to ensure that no one should serve as a president for more than two consecutive terms.
  4. Subjecting the army and security forces to the elected civil authority. Persons working in the military or the security services are to be banned from work in the political sphere.
  5. The Constitution must safeguard the rights of individuals, including freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of access to information, freedom of privacy, and religious freedoms.
  6. The Constitution must safeguard the rights to assembly, demonstrations, and strikes, including the right to establish political parties and civil society organizations.
  7. The Constitution must safeguard community diversity in Syria, and the rights of communities to participate in governance through adopting the principle of decentralization, and ensure a just solution to the Kurdish issue within the framework of the unity, independence and sovereignty of the Syrian territory.
  8. Independence of the Judiciary, and the ratification of international human rights treaties and a commitment to implement them.
  9. Launch an integrated path for Transitional Justice based on the truth, accountability, fairness and reparations in order to protect national unity, prevent revenge, and establish durable societal peace.
  10. Prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, origin, language, religion or creed, wealth or social status, political views, or disability or any other reason. Safeguard the full equality of all citizens, men and women in the civil, political, economic and social rights, in all spheres of public life and family life. Adopt policies and mechanisms to achieve the principle of equality between women and men in the legislative and executive bodies, in all representative institutions, including political parties and civic associations.

Signed:

1- Academics Council
2- Aleppo provincial Council
3- Alkawakibi Center For Human Rights
4- Alkawakibi Organization For Human Rights
5- Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Center in Golan Heights
6- Baytna Syria
7- Combattants pour la liberté et la paix
8- Daraa provincial Council
9- Democratic Republic studies center
10- Diplomats Council
11- Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights
12- Free Nayional Gathering For Workers in the Syrians state’s institutions
13- Free Syrian Lawyers Aggregation
14- Hama countryside provincial Council
15- Hama provincial Council
16- Homs provincial Council
17- Independent Syrian Kurds Association
18- Local Development and Small-Projects Support (LDSPS)
19- National Salvation Movement in   ALHasaka
20- Palmyra relief
21- Solidarity Organization For Syria
22- Sound and Picture
23- Syria Freemen Conference
24- Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)
25- Syrian activists monitoring organization
26- Syrian center for media and freedom of expression
27- Syrian Center for Statistics and Research
28- Syrian Center for Studies and Human Rights
29- Syrian League for Citizenship
30- Syrian Network for Human Rights
31- Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
32- The Council of free Syrian judges
33- The Day After
34- The Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms
35- The Syrian Journalists Association
36- The Syrian Judiciary Council
37- The working group for Syrian detainees
38- Urnammu
39- Violations Documentation Center (VDC)
40- Women Now