Home Stories & TestimoniesWritten Stories “We are Deprived of our Most Basic Human Rights”

“We are Deprived of our Most Basic Human Rights”

Statement of Souzda Radwan Issa

by wael.m
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Souzda could not accompany her sick mother to Damascus to seek medical treatment, because she is a stateless Syrian Kurd, specifically from the maktumeen[1] category. The suffering of Souzda continues until today, as her legal status hasn’t been resolved yet.

Souzda Radwan Issa was born in Qamishli/Qamishlo in 1992. She works in the field of media. Most of Souzda’s family members, including her father and her brothers, are stateless, from the maktumeen category. In this respect she spoke to STJ field researcher through an interview conducted in March 2018:

"My father was maktum while my uncles and mother were citizens. My father tried to resolve his legal status several times, but to no avail. Following the issuance of decree No. 49 on the naturalization of ajanib[2], my eight brothers and I submitted our papers to the Civil Status Department in Qamishli, but the employees always said that the papers had been destroyed in Deir ez-Zur city as a result of war.

Statelessness put us in so many troubles. I was very good at school, but I dropped out because of my legal status, and because we were poor and not able to afford education. I still remember my teacher’s words when she told me that I wouldn’t benefit from studying long as I was maktumah. And I used to hear the same from my acquaintances. I liked to be educated but those words frustrated me, and made me feel sorry for myself.”

Souzda recalled when her mother got really sick five years ago. Her father or any of her brothers couldn’t go with her to Damascus to seek treatment, because being maktumeen caused them a lot of trouble on the Syrian forces’ military checkpoints which are deployed throughout the country:

We were deprived of our most basic human rights. Once, we had to travel to Damascus because of an emergency, but we couldn’t, because the land routes were closed and we are not permitted to travel by plane. Airlines only recognize IDs, not the identity certificate we hold.


[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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