Home Syrian Voices for an Inclusive Constitution

Syrian Voices for an Inclusive Constitution

by wael.m

Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) brought forth the idea of the project ‘Syrian Voices for an Inclusive Constitution’ in response to the United Nations-sponsored agreement on the formation of a Constitutional Committee.

Recognizing the foundational role constitutions play and the importance of a fair constitution-building process, the UN established the Syrian Constitutional Committee by Resolution 2254. The Committee comprised members of the Syrian Government, the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission, and the civil society. In 2019, the Committee held its first meeting during which the constituent assembly declared its determination to amend or adopt a new Syrian Constitution as part of the path toward national peace and stability.

While UN General Secretary António Guterres calls the Constitutional Committee part of a “Syrian-owned and Syrian-led” peace process, there has been significant controversy surrounding which Syrian communities are represented in the Constitutional Committee and the role foreign powers have played in choosing them. Both Turkey and Russia influenced the delegates chosen in the Syrian Constitutional Committee, testifying to the impact foreign powers continue to have not only on the Syrian conflict but on the Syrian peace-building process. This prompted STJ to launch a project aims at bringing the voices of local Syrian communities to the members of the Constitutional Committee.

Believing that effective and inclusive participation is fundamental to a fruitful Constitution-making process, STJ sought through this project to ensure the participation of all Syrian components and constituents, especially those who feel not properly represented in the Committee. The Middle East Institute described the Committee as “strongly skewed against the Kurds, who compromise only 4% of its total membership, less than half of their percentage of the population as a whole.”

In 2020, STJ held consultations throughout the country on the subjects of citizenship, distribution of power, a transitional constitution process for Syria, and the inclusion of social and environmental justice.

STJ organized the data retrieved from these consultations in a series of five reports entitled,

  1. The Formation and Responsibilities of the Syrian Constitutional Committee;
  2. Syria’s Diversity Must be Defended and Supported by Law;
  3. Transitional Justice and the Constitution Process in Syria;
  4. Governance and Judicial Systems in the Syrian Constitution;
  5. Socio-Ecological Justice and the Syrian Constitution.

STJ also published a sixth report that provides an executive summary of all previous reports, outlines project activities, and highlights its key recommendations and findings.

This project is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

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