“The Voice of the Local Community in the Constitution” Gaziantep Workshop – January 31, 2020

On January 31, 2020, Friday, The Stabilization Committee has held the first Gaziantep meeting within the scope of “The Voice of the Local Community in the Constitution” path. This meeting came as a continuation of other workshops held by the Stabilization Committee inside Syria, with the aim of engaging the local community in the Syrian constitutional process and to communicate the aspirations and hopes of the local community regarding the political process.
The Co-president of the Constitutional Committee, members of the Constitutional Committee, members of National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, representatives of local community activities, local councils, provincial councils, civil society organizations, professional unions, and military factions, in addition to representatives of several countries including Turkey, the United States of America, France, Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, and Poland, as well as representatives from the United Nations Political Office participated in the workshop

During the meeting, the focus was on several matters, the most important of which are the repercussions of the situation in Idlib between problems, solutions, pressures, hopes and its influence on the work of the Constitutional Committee, and attendees’ messages to the participating countries on the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Idlib.
The meeting was divided into three sessions as follows:
The first session: was about the political paths of Syria, the formation of the constitutional committee and the repercussions of the military situation on it and its works and the description of the current political and military reality/situation
The second session: A presentation made by the Stabilization Committee on the workshops that took place inside Syria (the pros, cons, outputs, and lessons learned), there were interventions by three attendees who were participated in the workshops held inside Syria, namely, representative of a local council, representative of a military faction, representative of Union of Syrian Civil Society Organizations. In this session, there was the launch of many initiatives and proposals. And there were words by the country representatives about their countries’ position regarding the constitutional process.
The third session: Presenting the most important FAQs about the constitutional process and the session’s outputs.
First session:
The Session started by welcoming and getting acquainted with the participants and presenting a video prepared by the Stabilization Committee on the political paths of Syria and the formation of the Constitutional Committee.

Please click the image below to watch the Video

The facilitator of the session stressed that the importance of holding the workshop at this particular time where the regime is advancing militarily lies in the announcement of the start of a new struggle/battle by the local community, which is the participation in the political struggle/battle.
Then there was an explanation made by Mr. Hadi Al-Bahra, the Co-president of the Constitutional Committee, in which he spoke about the situation in Idlib, the humanitarian tragedy that its people are suffering, the exodus of thousands due to the military attack of the regime and the constant air bombardment, the extreme lack of the humanitarian and relief needs and how a tent has become a dream of many Syrians.
He also made it clear that the regime’s military progress should not be considered an end to the revolution, nor should we remain idle about what is happening. The goal of any war is to reach political gains. We in Syria carried out a revolution to restore our human, constitutional and legal rights. In the beginning, the military option was not on the table, but we were pushed to it by the regime’s authoritarian and criminal policies. The revolution has several tracks, including political, military and economic, and each has its tools. However, as at the start, the demands were political, the final harvest is political, and therefore even if the other side makes military progress, it will not be able to harvest politically.

Then he moved on to talk about the political solution paths of Syria, from the first Geneva statement to the Geneva and Astana paths. How was the Constitutional Committee formed and how its members were selected and representation of the three blocs (opposition – regime – the civil society). He as well talked about the four baskets of Staffan de Mistura, saying agreement on one of the baskets does not cancel the other baskets because agreement won’t be made on anything unless everything is agreed upon. Then there was a discussion and dialogue with the participants, the points that were discussed were about stopping the hostilities, the continuous attacks and the feasibility of the political paths, Mr. Hadi explained that our battle with the regime is political as well as it is a military battle.
The second session:
The Stabilization Committee presented an evaluation of the workshops held inside Syria within its “The Voice of the Local Community in the Constitution” path. And an explanation was made about the previous workshops that took place inside Syria (the cities of Azaz and Jarablus) with a wide participation that reached / 256 / participants from various regions of the north of Syria and a large rate of women participation, in addition to participants from Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo.
The most important positive points in those workshops were:

  • Eliminating the blurring and the confusion that inflated by the media agendas regarding the political paths, and discussing the political trends that do not agree with this path.
  • The interaction of those who are invited to participate and the great enthusiasm to participate and discuss with representatives of the Constitutional Committee.
  • Increase in the number of attendees after each workshop.
  • Evolution in understanding the importance of continuing with this path, as a political battle that the society with all its components, has a responsibility to support and succeed it.
  • Getting calls and requests from personalities and representatives of local powers and civil society organizations to inquire about upcoming workshops and how to attend.
  • Repeated demands by the participants of the previous workshops regarding the need to continue the implementation of such sessions inside Syria.
    The most important recommendations that were received:
  • That the Constitutional Committee share the decisions and the proposals regarding the constitutional content with the local community, unions, and local governmental authorities.
  • Building trust and channels of communication with the people inside Syria.
  • To reach all the marginalized to get their opinions and requests.
  • To take into consideration that women are more represented in the political process. (to increase the representation of women)

The most important hopes:

  • That the constitutional process be the beginning of the comprehensive political process in Syria.
  • A constitution that identifies the relationship between the powers, to ensure the separation of powers and non-dominance of one authority over another.
    The Merits that should be adhered to:
  • Separation of powers and limitation of the powers of the President.
  • Ensure freedoms (freedom of expression, demonstration, and belief).
  • The unity of the Syrian state.
  • Trial of war criminals and social justice.
    Then there was a space for the participants to express their aspirations and suggestions, where the participants saw the insufficiency of the workshops that were held and referred to the necessity of continuation of such meetings and workshops, many people want to participate in them after the good resonance and the positive impact left by the previous workshops. The local councils demanded formation of committees inside Syria to coordinate and work with the Constitutional Committee. Various unions/syndicates called for holding specialized workshops, such as a workshop with lawyers, engineers, etc… Some called for workshops in the western countryside of Aleppo and Idlib Region.
    Mr. Hadi Al-Bahra commented on the lessons learned from the previous workshops and on the proposals that are made by some local councils, institutions and bodies regarding expanding the work. Therefore, constitutional awareness committees should be launched.
    In this session there were as well words from representatives of the participating countries affirming their country’s support for the political solution in Syria and the Constitutional Committee.

Please click the image below to watch the Video prepared by Aljazeera about the workshop:

The third session:
In this session the most important FAQs were reviewed (about the Constitutional Committee, its wok, what it does now, what to do in case the regime obstinated, is the constitution written and ready?)
Mr. Hadi Al-Bahra has answered them in detail, he said we will only accept a constitution written by the Syrians and that the decision for the Syrian people who will pass the constitution.

He said let us agree to transfer the battle in the coming period from a battle between the revolutionaries and the regime to a battle between the Syrian people and the regime, and it begins with a constitution that suits all the Syrian people.

  • It is decided to form constitutional awareness committees for all local councils; to let them play a role regarding raising the awareness about the constitutional process, accessing to more local communities and increasing their role regarding the constitutional contents and approving them.
  • Expanding the geographical region of the workshop and awareness raising activities inside Syria and outside of it.
  • Work to raise the level of public awareness regarding the constitutional contents
  • The importance of activating the role of unions and syndicates and setting up specialized workshops with them to let them have a greater role and involve them in the constitutional process.
  • Intensifying media work to raise the awareness regarding the constitutional process, the constitutional content and the Constitutional Committee.

Please click the image below to watch the Video prepared by the Stabilization Committee about the workshop:

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