Home Stories & TestimoniesWritten Stories “I feel sorry for my children because they’ll suffer the same fate as me”

“I feel sorry for my children because they’ll suffer the same fate as me”

Statement of Sanad Muhammad

by wael.m
19 views Download as PDF This post is also available in: Arabic

Sanad feels sorry for his four children and wonders what their future could be like since they were born stateless. They will not be able to pursue education, to elect or to travel abroad.

Sanad Muhammad was born in Al-Qamishli in 1980. He is married with four children, and working as a salesman in a local clothing shop. Muhammad’s family was divided as a result of the special census conducted in 1962, some becoming maktumeen,[1] and others, citizens. Sanad spoke to STJ field researcher who interviewed him in March 2018:

My father became a maktum while my mother became a citizen as a result of the special census. Following the issuance of Decree No 49 on naturalization of ajanib[2], we made several attempts to resolve our legal status, but to no avail. I’m married to my cousin, she is a citizen while my children are all maktumeen. I have suffered a lot, I have not completed my studies since I knew that it would be pointless. We, maktumeen, are not permitted to register any property under our names, even the landline phone, or to practice the professions we aim at. We are just allowed to work as blacksmith, carpenter or porter.  I feel sorry for my children because they will suffer the same fate as me."

Sanad made numerous attempts to obtain Syrian nationality, and he notes that he has suffered a lot through that, where the Civil Status employees used to cancel some of his papers, and request the amendment of others:

Each time they asked me to obtain a new document. One time they told me that most of my papers were canceled, so I came back and applied again. It costs me a lot of time, effort and money, to request them, and since then I have been following up the matter but to no avail. So many ajanib managed to get nationality, while we remained maktumeen.”


[1] Sing. maktum/maktumah, i. e., unregistered stateless people.

[2] Sing. ajnabi/ajnabiyah, literally »foreigners« i.e. stateless. unregistered stateless people.

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