‘’The Voice of the Local Syrian Society in the Constitution’’

Starting workshop

In the presence of many local councils in northern eastern countryside of Aleppo and many youth and
women’s organizations, the Stabilization Committee held on November 14th 2019 a workshop entitled ” The
Voice of the Local Syrian Society in the Constitution “, with the participation of the following representatives
of the Constitutional Committee:
1- Mr. Mazen Gharibah: The Constitutional Committee, Civil Society Organization representative
2- Mr. Hadi Al Bahra: Co-president of the Constitutional Committee for the opposition’s side
The workshop was as part of the works of the Stabilization Committee regarding the political process in Syria,
which it recently launched regarding the shape of the future of Syria with the voice of the local community.

Discussions in the workshop lasted for five hours between all the parties participating in it, including the Stabilization Committee, the Constitutional Committee, the local authorities, representatives of regions and CSOs and activities. The number of participants was 35 persons. The workshop was divided into the following three sessions:

  • 1st session: with representatives of Civil Society Organizations in the Constitutional Committee
  • 2nd session: with the opposition representatives in the Constitutional Committee
  • 3rd session: between the participants themselves to talk transparently about their opinions on what have been discussed during the first 2 sessions

First session:

  • The discussion focused on the structure of the Constitutional Committee in terms of the establishment, members, powers, roles, duties and works. Then discussions took place regarding what happened at the first session of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, spotting the light on the performance on the opposition delegation compared to the performance of the regime delegation. Mr. Mazen explained these points in detail.
  • Then there was a discussion on the concerns of the local community regarding the Constitutional Committee, for example, questioning the competencies of the opposition delegation compared to the competencies of the regime delegation as well as the competencies of the civil society organization representatives affiliated to the opposition and the civil society organization representatives affiliated the regime. Who are the most competent!?
  • Does the Constitution committee as rumoured affiliated to the Syria State and as a result to the regime!? Is it a cancellation of the Geneva resolution 2254 or a circumvention of it to re-legitimize the regime!?
    And a lot of questions about the expectations, the red lines, the guarantees and the work timelines and the mechanisms and the coordination among the Civil Society Organization representatives in the Constitutional Committee as well as to the coordination and work between Civil Society Organization representatives and the opposition delegation in the Constitutional Committee.
    It was very necessary to clarify these problematic and common points to reduce the discontent at home in Syria regarding the Constitutional Committee and its work
    Representatives of the Constitutional Committee faced the criticism and the questions and answered questions and inquiries with full transparency.
    Mr. Mazen said that the reference for the Constitutional Committee is the United Nations and behind it as a pressure force the guarantor countries, this has withdrawn something from the powers of the Syrian People’s Assembly and the powers of the President in favor of the Constitutional Committee. Our red lines are any attempt to re-market Bashar Al-Assad, so that we will not allow circumvention of the Security Council resolution 2254. If some countries try to do so, we will not continue with the Constitutional committee.
    He as well said, what we are observing / witnessing so far is the great pressure from the countries, even the allies of the regime, for the success of the work of the constitutional committee. We saw the Russians putting pressure on the regime delegation in order not to sabotage the works of the Constitutional Committee, as well as the US statement regarding the intention to issue sanctions on the figures who could sabotage the works of the Constitutional Committee. He said, according to the observers, the performance of the opposition delegation and civil society organization representatives affiliated to the opposition was consistent and strong. While the regime delegation did not do anything but ‘’Tashbeeh’’ which is an act like Thugging. The roles were distributed among opposition delegation and civil society organization representatives affiliated to the opposition so that they could be coherent, pressureful and completing each other.

Second Session:

In this session the co-president of the Constitutional Committee Mr. Hadi Al Bahra, was hosted and the discussion started about the political sequence until the formation Constitutional Committee. Then discussions took place about the formation of the opposition delegation, Mr. Hadi Al Bahra introduced the opposition delegation and talked about the importance of its work and success, hoping its work may be a means to reach a political solution in Syria. Also, discussions took place about the satisfaction of the local community inside Syria about the Constitutional Committee / the opposition delegation and their support to them. Then the participants of the workshop directed their questions to Mr. Hadi Al Bahra, some of the questions were political and some others were procedural.
What are the chances of success of the Constitutional Committee? Are there opportunities for solution other than the Constitutional Committee since the revolution was not for the Constitution? What are the difficulties and challenges facing you in the joints (key points) of the Constitution? How decision-making will take place? Will the regime have greater opportunities since it has more civil society organizations representatives in the constitutional committee? What is the fate of the detainees and are there any guarantees to stop the shelling on Idlib?
Mr. Hadi Al-Bahra explained the first points raised in the session and stressed that the Constitutional Committee is not null and void for resolution 2254, but it is one of the four baskets and the implementation of one basket does not mean dispensing or canceling the other baskets. The Constitutional Committee is one of the steps of the solution in Syria and not the solution itself, since the main problem in Syria is not the constitution.
He expressed the regime aims to sabotage the work of the Constitutional Committee and that the guarantor countries restraining it. Mr. Hadi Al-Bahra said that The Opposition delegation has delayed one of the sessions and submitted a book demanding stop of the shelling of Idlib and start releasing detainees by the regime. The difficulties certainly lie in going into the details and not being drowned in them. The other difficulty is that the countries may not put enough pressure to make the process a success. Mr. Hadi Al-Bahra said that, to make any decision we need agreement of 75% of the members of the Constitutional Committee. For example, if the regime needs to pass a decision it needs agreement of all the regime delegation members (50) and agreement of all the Civil Society Organization Representatives (50) alongside to agreement of 13 opposition delegation members, this means that it is in need of agreement of 113 member out of 150 members. So, the regime is not able to pass any decisions without our agreement. The same applies to the opposition delegation, we as well need agreement of 113 members out of 150 members. This is good as it doesn’t give the space to the regime to pass decisions without our agreement but at the same time it is one of the difficulties. The thing that could overcome this difficulty is the rational negotiations and the pressure will put by UN and Guarantor countries on the parties and as a result the decisions will be passed by voting.
At the end of the two sessions, Mr. Mazen and Mr. Al-Bahra expressed the importance of holding such meetings periodically and they suggested to hold similar sessions after each session of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. They thanked the Stabilization Committee for holding the workshop and attendees for attending .

Third Session:
In the third session the participants between themselves talked transparently about their opinions on what have been discussed during the first 2 sessions. Opinions were definitely between negative and positive. But in general, the attendees expressed their happiness from holding / attending such workshops where they are able to be introduced to what is going on regarding the constitutional committee and its work alongside to that they are able to say their opinions, suggestions, concerns and criticism directly to the Constitutional committee representatives.

Outputs of the Workshop / sessions:

  • Holding workshops inside Syria before each of the Geneva meeting in order to identify the ideas and demands.
  • Expand attendance and participation in order to increase the representation rate.
  • Transferring ideas and requests to the Constitutional Committee in discussion sessions after each meeting in Geneva – Not to criticize the Constitutional Committee before testing them by providing it them with suggestions and ideas and observe whether they are taking it into consideration or not.

Please click the link to watch the video report by Halab Today TV on the workshop

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