Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria | Will a new “Social Contract” serve all segments of society? • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria | Will a new “Social Contract” serve all segments of society?

The expanded committee for drafting the Social Contract of north and east Syria has continued its proceedings. The discussions have focused on adding and amending the general principles of the contract.

The meeting was attended by a 157-member expanded committee, representatives of the Autonomous Administration, political parties, Al-Shabibah, nongovernmental associations and activists.

The committee has finished discussions and amendments of the contract preamble, general principles, part of the administrative statute in north and east Syria in terms of communes, local municipals, areas, and regional councils and cities.

SOHR has interviewed two members of the committee who both agree on the importance of issuing that contact that will regulate life in the north area and will safeguard the rights of all segments in the region.

Akram Al-Mashoush, vice secretary-general of the conservative party and Arab representative of tribes in the Social Contract Committee told SOHR that the social contract serves all segments in north and east Syria along with maintaining the special rituals of the Yazidi religion, adding that the discussions over five months tackled precisely each paragraph, word, and letter of the contract.

Al-Mashoush adds that the draft Contract and items are not contradicting the unity of the Syrian land and the goals of not dividing it. However, it serves all Syrians with different religions and beliefs, as well as stresses the unity of Syrian land and people by democratic and anti-centralisation thinking.

He rules out that any attempts to exclude any side that serves the people’s interests, reiterating that there is no paragraph, suggestion, or article in the contract that calls for separation from Syria, or touches its unity, or sovereignty. On the contrary, the contract stresses the unity of land and people that was the price of the Syrian bloodshed in north and east Syria, he added.

Al-Mashoush referred to the 2014 Social Contract that focused on Al-Jazerah, Ain Al-Arab (Kubani), and Afrin communes which was amended after expanding the geographic area by including Manbaj, Al-Raqqah and Deir Ezzor. That contact was amended based on recommendations of all male and female activists and Al-Shabibah representatives.

The amended parts of the 2014 Contract covered items, that are similar to laws of some major powers in the world, covering the joint presidency, ensuring rights of men, women children, and Al-Shabibah as well as considering the economic, administrative, religious, social, and political conditions.

Concerning the international reactions to the amendments, Al-Mashoush says, “until now, we did not receive any reactions, but the road is open for amendments if any political dialogue takes place in the future.”

Al-Mashoush stresses that the Contract when implemented on the ground will positively impact the region in the coming stage within a unified country.

On the other hand, Nazira Gouriah, member in the committee, told SOHR that the north area is on the cusp of a new era after a former contract was drafted in 2014 when the Democratic Autonomous Administration covered Al-Jazirah, Ain Al-Arab (Kubani) and Afrin but now after liberating several areas and forming autonomous and civil administrations, the contact was renewed in a way that copes with the current requirements.

Gouriah adds that a group of members from different parties, civil societies, compositions, civil and self-ruled administrations has been designated to draft the contract, noting that the women bloc represented 50 percent of the expanded committee’s members and several female members were elected to draft the bill, while women representation in the minor committee was also considered.

Gouriah considers women’s representation in the expanded committee was prominent and important especially with the participation of women from female organisations, self-ruled and civil administrations for ensuring their rights and duties in the laws and legislations of the north region.

Gouriah further emphasised the importance of making laws suitable for genders and including women’s laws inside or outside the Contract to make it an easy task whenever it comes to amending women’s laws about their status in general and economic, social, and political representation.

The Kurdish committee member reiterates the steps that women made in the north and east of Syrian and the gains that have been achieved after a long struggle at administrative, political, and military levels, referring to the issuance of law on women covering all their rights and freedoms in expanded items.

“Of course, we are not fully satisfied and we still walk on the road of struggle and work to gain our complete rights, but in 2011 we made important and fixed steps towards equal representation of women by 50 percent,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of working as part of the society for promoting development, breaking obsolete traditions that do not serve the progress of the region in the Middle East, calling for raising awareness of the culture of women to be able to defend themselves and know their duties and to gain their rights.

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