Click here to read The status of the right to freedom of association
لقراءة التقرير باللغة العربية اضغط هنا تقرير توثيقي حالة الحق في حرية تكوين الجمعيات في منطقة الحكومة السورية
Today, February 7, 2022, Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights-FFHR issued a report on the status of the right to freedom of association in the area under the control of the Syrian government.
FFHR said that while it monitors the state of the right to freedom of association in the area under the control of the Syrian government and the violations and abuses that this right is subjected to, Fraternity salutes the courage of her colleagues in this sector to continue to provide their services and find alternatives to cope with the repression they are facing from the Syrian government.
Regarding the report, the executive summary stated that it covers the period between 2018 and December 31, 2021, of the reality of the right to form associations, mainly in the areas controlled by the Syrian government in Damascus, Damascus countryside, As-Suwayda, Tartous, Latakia and Homs.
In the report’s methodology, FFHR said that, based on the legal analysis of the Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights, Law No. 93 of 1958, the reality of its application, and its approaches to the obligations of the Syrian Arab Republic to the international conventions that it joined, signed and ratified.
It concluded in the legal analysis of the status of the right of association under national law and its contradiction with international standards.
And by approaching the practical reality about the real mechanism that is followed in the process of registration, publicity and activity, with the legal reference from all articles of Law No. 93 of 1958 on which civil society associations and organizations in the Syrian government-controlled area are based in the mechanism of their registration and publicity, supported by testimonies from the organizations we interviewed.
The report team included legal comments to contradict these violations based on best ways and global standards for the right to freedom of association and Syria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Syria signed and ratified on March 23, 1976, and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights On January 3, 1976.
Medya Dhir, FFHR co.Founder&General Director, said:
Our follow-up to the reality of the right to freedom of association in Syria in general places upon us additional tasks to defend this right, we cannot see our colleagues in civil society organizations whose rights are being violated, and we can stand idly by or bystanders.
We must move and the move should include the international community in the first place , because after all this bloody conflict in Syria for more than a decade, the Damascus government is still insisting on its security solutions towards Syrian citizens.
How is it possible that we are in the year 2022 while the lives of Syrians are still subject to a law from 1958.?
The team that prepared the report relied mainly on field interviews and conducting research on the status of the right to form associations operating in accordance with Law No. 93 of 1958 in the areas under the control of the Syrian government.
Whereas the Legal Support Unit relied on the main source of the law and on previously published literature on research and studies. FFHR researchers and monitors conducted (18) interviews and investigations with representatives of some civil society organizations operating in the region, including (10) interviews about the legal reality of registering organizations and the difficulties it encounters in the registration process and the extent of unjustified interference, whether in registration and boards of directors or with regard to the activities of these organizations.
The interviews took place in each of the following cities: 6 interviews in Damascus and its countryside, one interview in Tartous, two interviews in As-Suwayda, and one interview in Latakia.
Based on the testimonies of 18 associations and their activists, victims of Syrian government violations, who were interviewed by the team between June 2021 and December 2021, and documented testimonies of witnesses, Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights-FFHR believes that the Syrian government is still violating the right to freedom of association, its international standards and relevant agreements
Mainly ” The right of Syrian citizens to freedom of association, which is widely prohibited through the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and through the security services, primarily the Political Security of the Ministry of Interior, as it is authorized to follow up on the registration and practice of Syrian associations’ activities in contravention of the content of Law 93 of 1958 itself and in contravention of the right standards On freedom of association and Syria’s international obligations.
The registration period sometimes reaches two years of waiting and a minimum of 6 months, and this contradicts the law itself, international standards and Syria’s obligations.”
FFHR also said that Syrian associations and their members are subject to arrest and the constant threat of arrest and ban on work
In the report’s recommendations addressed to both the Syrian government and the office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Fraternity focused on the necessity of:
“That the laws regulating the establishment, registration and work of civil society organizations must meet the minimum requirements for the Syrian government to promote the right to form associations”.
As it said:
“We call on the Syrian government to repeal Law 93 of 1958 and to adopt a new law, in line with international standards for the right to freedom of association, in particular Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Syrian government signed and ratified”
To the Civil Society Chamber of the Office of the Special UN Envoy for Syria, FFHR recommended That
“the Chamber and the Office of the UN Envoy should intervene with the Syrian government to ensure that civil society activists are not subjected to arrest or travel bans based on their activities in the Syrian political solution process and Syrian peace building;”
FFHR addressed its recommendations to Syrian civil society organizations that:
“Continuing the struggle for a just and legal law regulating the work of Syrian civil society institutions, and strengthening the capacities of actors in the field of providing legal support to help associations establish or reconcile the conditions of the existing ones”
FFHR also made a special recommendation to Syrian civil society organizations outside the control of the Syrian government to stop all forms of unfortunate accusations directed at associations and civil non-governmental organizations operating in areas controlled by the Syrian government
At the conclusion of the report, the support unit of the Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights-FFHR formulated a proposal for standards to enhance the right to freedom of association in Syria in general and in the area under the control of the Syrian government in particular.
This formulation was based on international standards for the right to freedom of association, in line with Syria’s obligations to international conventions that it had previously signed and ratified.