On the 2 and 3 of December 2021, Syrians for Truth and Justice presented a statement at the UN Forum on Minority Issues on the current issues facing Syrian minorities. During the forum’s fourteenth session, speakers from across the world delivered statements on the status of minorities in countries worldwide to better help U.N. member nations to analyze practices, challenges, opportunities, and initiatives in addressing conflict prevention and the protection of the human rights of minorities.
You can read the statement in full below or access a video of the statement online.
Thank you Mr. Chairman/ Thank you Madame Chair,
My name is Bassam Alahmad and I am speaking for the organization Syrians for Truth and Justice. Since our creation, we have documented thousands of human rights violations committed across Syria. Today, I want to focus on some of the key violations targeting Syrian minorities.
In Idlib, the extremist group in power, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, has seized the homes of Christian families. HTS disposed of some of the homes and used others to house their own members. Not far from Idlib, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria monitored systematic acts of property seizure and arbitrary arrests against Kurds in Syria’s Kurdish-majority cities of Afrin and Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê. The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army in control there has been committing violations with impunity.
Mr. Chairman/Madame Chair,
Despite the atrocities committed against minorities like Kurds, Yazidis, Armenians, and Assyrians during the Turkish operations in 2018 and 2019, Turkey continues to threaten civilians in northeastern Syria with new military operations and continued violence.
We call for greater efforts in documenting and condemning violations committed by all parties to the conflict to ensure an inclusive, impartial, and non-political accountability process.
We also call for the creation of a genuine political peace process which includes all Syrians in its work and deliberation. One step would be revising the composition of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, which currently excludes Syrian groups in northeastern Syria, specifically Syrian Kurds.
Finally, we call for urgent amendments in the Syrian constitution and domestic law that would begin to lift the injustice and discrimination which has burdened Syrian non-Arab minorities for decades. We demand the government take steps towards recognizing Syrian minorities’ existence and affording them their rights on the grounds of equal citizenship.