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“I’ve Come to Realize that they don’t Want our Legal Status to be Resolved”

Statement of Abdelkader Hasan

by wael.m
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Despite numerous attempts, Abdelkader is still unable to resolve his legal status as a stateless, and his suffering is continued till today, since he is deprived of all his citizenship rights.

Abdelkader Hasan was born in Qamishli in 1983. He is married with children, and working as a teacher of the Kurdish language at an Autonomous Administered institution. Abdelkader is classified as a stateless, from the maktumeen[1] category. In this regard, he spoke to STJ field researcher through an interview conducted in March 2018:

 “Since my grandfather had died before the special census, his and his children’s names were not registered, so my father became maktum. In the 1980s my father tried to resolve his legal status but he failed. When I became an adult, I went to the Civil Status Department in Amuda town, where I found the records of my grandfather and grandmother, but the employees told me that those records were not recognized, because they existed before the census was carried out. As other maktumen, I was not permitted to attend university, but after 2004 we were allowed to provisional enrolment, which means that we could complete university studies but without being entitled to a graduation certificate.

After graduation, we had nothing to do, no job, no employment, nothing at all, just staying home. Although I studied Arabic Literature I didn’t have anything from it, I did not even get the certificate. I remember that I suffered greatly during the provisional enrolment. The employee told me that the signature of the mukhtar[2] in my identity certificate was unclear, so I had to return to Qamishli in order to ask the mukhtar to sign on it again. The provisional enrolment took me three months, during which I got into a disagreement with one of the university employees who asked me for an ID, and it took me a long time to explain my legal status to him where he finally understood my situation. I've suffered a lot."

Abdelkader’s sister wasn’t entitled to a university certificate, but she decided to complete the study of English Literature, and after graduation she managed to obtain a certified document, instead of the graduation certificate, which proves that she had finished university courses. Abdelkader did not get such document when he finished university:

“My elder sister and younger brother hadn’t completed their studies, while my brother dropped out at the tenth grade, because he saw the difficulties we were experiencing. Although I’m married, my wife is still single in the official records at the Personal Status Department, and I have four unregistered children. With the onset of the war in Syria, I considered immigrating to Europe but I changed my mind later and preferred to stay in my country. As for the Autonomous Administration, it treats us as citizens, facilitates our affairs, but regarding official documents, it only grants us an unrecognised identification certificate and nothing else."

Following the issuance of Decree No. 49, on the naturalization of ajanib in 2011, Abdelkader submitted his papers to the Civil Status department in Qamishli, aiming to get the Syrian nationality, but whenever he goes there in order to follow up on the matter, the employees say that there's something wrong in his papers. He said:

"Our attempts did not come with any result. Recently, I went to the Personal Status Department, where the employees told me also that there was something wrong in my papers, which I must modify. Actually, I've come to realize that they do not want our legal status to be resolved. While a large number of maktumeen have submitted their papers to no avail, only two maktumeen families who I know managed to acquire Syrian nationality but in illegal ways.”


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

[2] The head of the neighborhood.

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