The reality of humanitarian organizations in areas controlled by the Syrian regime.

” Military victories restore Syrian security grip to its former state in restricting the civil and humanitarian efforts”

Fraternity foundation for human rights follows with grave concern the restoration of security tightening by the Syrian government to its previous state after military victories which were achieved by direct international support on one hand and by international silence on other hand.

Despite the emphasis of various local and international parties on the need to end the state of war in Syria and the help and support for Syrians to recover from the implications of the bloody conflicts that began years ago, the Syrian government still violates all international conventions and universal human rights standards.

In the framework of humanitarian and international organizations efforts to recover Syrian communities and help Syrians to overcome circumstances inflicted by war, our foundation followed closely Syrian regime exploiting its victories by restoring its security grip on the reality of rights and political freedom especially Right to Freedom of Association. Even though the Syrian government legalized the Right to Freedom of Association under the law No. 93 in 1958 and its implementing regulations and consecutive constitutional amendments,  most recently in 2012, and Syrian government allowing for humanitarian organizations to offer humanitarian help for those who were damaged during previous years but according to a legislative and executive regulation that does not conform in any way to international human rights law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)  particularly freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

And Syrian government goes beyond that by imposing restrictions on local and international humanitarian organizations and linking them ultimately to its security grip.  As our team has observed in the areas controlled by Syrian regime, especially in Damascus, these humanitarian organizations cannot hire staff or contract employees to carry out their humanity proposals until they get security approval of Syrian government represented by the Ministry of social affairs and labor which shares these proposals with security forces to decide whether to approve it or not.  The Syrian government  also tend to provide staff members from its side and exclude local staff through favoritism and corruption which is incompatible with the essence of convention No.87 on freedom of association and protection of Union organizing  ( 9th July 1948 ) of the international labor organization,  and especially articles ” 2, 3 , 4 , 7 , 8 ” and more especially article No.2 which state” workers and employers, without discrimination of any kind, have the right to establish whatever organization they choose and they have the right, without being bound by the rules of the concerned organization, to join those organizations without prior authorization”.

Moreover, any activities that may be carried out by international humanitarian and local organizations is conditional to the consent of the Government, even if they have obtained prior consent for their plan and work before starting work in Syria. It is the same story with tendering and bidding which are subject to control by Governments and figures tied to the government.

” And this is completely contrary to what has been stated by special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in its report to the General Assembly in 4th August 2009 paragraph 27 and 28 “.

“The imposed restrictions by government decrees or administrative orders without clear legal provisions are considered illegal to international law as they do not meet the legitimacy and legality requirements. Furthermore, it is not accepted to adapt laws containing vague and loose provisions that can be easily exploited or misinterpreted. And the requirements to take the necessary measures in democratic society requires existence and working of numbers of associations, including those which work peacefully to publish ideas which may not agree or may contradict government view or majority of the population. Also, the prohibition of associations and prosecution of individuals because of their membership in those associations must be necessary just to avoid real threat not merely a virtual one for national security or democratic system, and it must be proved that less interventionist procedures were insufficient to achieve that goal.”

Furthermore, humanitarian job cannot be undertaken without the Arab red crescent’s partnership in relief and development field.

Syrian government pursuing its permanent and specific policy in linking all the details of political, economic and social life to its policies and directions and caving these details to its desires is in blatant violation of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, despite being a signatory State, particularly article No.22 of the international covenant on civil and political rights and various international conventions on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association especially Syracuse principles which emphasize the refutation of arguments that are presented by Syrian authorities with regard to national security and anti- terrorism legislation,  particularly, principle No.8  among them.

While we at Fraternity foundation for human rights emphasis that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and engaging in civil, developmental and humanitarian work is not only a right but also a Syrian duty to achieve stability in Syria outside the framework of security grip and pressures exercised by Syrian government, we condemn the continued violation of this sacred right by Syrian government.

We also call on the international community, in particular, Mr. Steven Demestora as the mandated sponsor of the international community in his quest for peace in Syria, to pressure the Syrian regime to stop these violations and to stop interfering in the activities of local and international organizations that operates in the areas under its control.

Fraternity foundation for human rights-Birati

Syria 7/8/2018