DI’s Campaign “NO TO ANY ETHNIC BELT IN MIDDLE EAST” Part I
The Syrian Minister of Agriculture has issued a decree to distribute around 14.000 decares of agricultural land, located in the predominantly Kurdish areas to 150 families from South Abdulaziz Mountains. This “Ethnic belt” is a real humanitarian catastrophe and will have disastrous consequences.
Ethnic Belt in Hesekah and Derek
Dr. Adel Safar, the Syrian Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, has issued a decree No. 1682 on 03/02/2007, to distribute around 14.000 decares of agricultural land, located in the province of Hasakah, Derek, the predominantly Kurdish areas, to 150 families from South Abdulaziz Mountains, 200 km far away from Derek area.
This decree is contrary to Syria’s obligations to all people in Syria. Under international human rights law, Syria has the obligation to respect, promote and protect the human rights of its population, without distinction of any kind. This decree not only contravenes internationally recognized protections against discrimination, but also contravenes Syria’s National legislation No. 83, which allowed the State to distribute the territory according to regulation ratified by the Presidency of Council of Ministers on 27/11/2001. In addition the decree contrevense as well the Syrian constitution in which equality among citizens and equitable distribution of wealth shall be ensured.
Since the land was not distributed to employees resigned from their jobs; not distributed to farmers affected by the regulation and not distributed to nearby village inhabitants despite their bad economic situation, this decree will cause problems between citizens.
The “Ethnic belt”, which was implemented 33 years ago by legislation No. 521 from 1974, is a real humanitarian catastrophe and will have disastrous consequences, similar to what happened in Iraq in the 1980s.
DI defends human rights and is on standby to avert humanitarian disasters, ensure the right of the individual to a decent living, respect for and protection of human rights of every human being. Therefore, we appeal to the European Union, the United Nations and all other international organizations and official institutions around the world to put pressure on the Syrian authorities to :
- Act in accordance with Syria’s legal obligations under international and regional human rights law, withdraw this decree and any similar decision targeting minoritities in Syria;
- Stop the creation of this “Ethnic Belt” in the province of Hasakah and guarantee fair distribution of land between inhabitants in the region.
- Remind the authorities that all people are equal before the law and that they are obligated to ensure that the human rights of every individual in Syria is fully respected, regardless of their ethnic origin or national identity;
- Allow all minorities within Syria to register their real estate.
With thanks and appreciation