The head of the Bar Association, Firas Fares, revealed that the unions concerned in the draft decree of the unified law of trade unions considered that it contains constitutional, legal and regulatory violations. In addition, it contradicts the conventions and treaties signed on behalf of Syria with regional and international bodies and organizations that protect trade unions, their independence and freedom, and the role of the state in protecting the independence of these unions.
In a statement to Al-Watan, Fares revealed that the unions concerned with this project, including the Bar Association, clarified their point of view and sent their response to the government. The body that sent this draft indicated the constitutional violations it contained, especially the violation of Article 10 of the Constitution, which provides for the independence of the unions.
He added: In our responses, we requested that the Supreme Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Legislative Committee in the People’s Assembly and the Legal Office in the Council of Ministers be asked to express their opinion on this project. He pointed out that one of the constitutional violations is the inclusion of unions directly and indirectly in the ministries; Each union will be affiliated with its competent ministry, such as the unions of doctors, pharmacists and dentists affiliated with the Ministry of Health, and engineers to the Ministry of Housing. Therefore, the unions will lose their identity, role, independence and representative description of the local and foreign ministries. He pointed out that the independence of the unions gives them a space of freedom to communicate with regional and international organizations.
Fares said that the third Article of the Law of the Union of Arab Lawyers stipulates that the bar associations must be independent. The union initially abolished the membership of two lawyers’ associations because each of them belongs to the competent ministry in its country.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Justice, for example, monitors the decisions issued by the General Conference of the Bar Association, which is held annually and has the right to appeal these decisions to the Court of Cassation in case of violations. However, this does not mean that the Bar Association is affiliated with the Ministry.
He added that the draft also gives powers to the Central Bureau for financial supervision and the Central Authority for Control and Inspection to supervise the unions’ funds. It also gives the State Council the powers of behavioural accounting. “The syndicate’s funds are private because the government does not provide us with any financial support. We are entrusted with them. Unless the unions’ funds are attacked or stolen, they are treated as public funds.”
The reasons for the draft decree obtained by Al-Watan indicated that this project aims to frame the work of the unions and organize it under general provisions. They aim to direct the work of the unions to achieve flexibility and efficiency in the performance of their work and to eliminate the discrepancy in the provisions governing the work of each union. This will take into account the specificity of the work of each of them and the nature of the profession that organizes them, in addition to unifying the references for appealing the decisions issued by the members of the union and the disciplinary boards.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.