The First Syrian American Congress for the National Charter was on September 9-10, 2022, in Washington, D.C. A group of distinguished Syrian American individuals travelled from across the nation to agree on a national charter for a free and democratic Syria built on the principle of equal citizenship and the rule of law.
The absence of a comprehensive national program for all Syrians and affiliations is a primary cause of the endurance of the authoritarian state and the fragility and fragmentation of the Syrian national identity. Additionally, the Geneva Communiqué and Security Council Resolution 2254 are encountering enormous challenges in implementing their main principles.
We wanted to present a national charter for Syria, in which we move from a state of fear of killing, arrest, and torture to a state of freedom, justice, dignity, and equality for every Syrian man and woman. Further, we wanted a charter that considers the need to cooperate with the international community on shared interests and with the deep conviction that only Syrians can solve the Syrian crisis.
The conference was an opportunity for all Syrian Americans to take part in Syria’s political action and act as a driving force for a solution that upholds the right of all Syrian political, demographic, religious, ethnic, and sectarian communities to contribute as one united nation.
The organizing committee invited all Syrian Americans who believe in democracy and human rights to participate in the conference and in writing the document. In subsequent meetings, every effort should be made to guarantee a better representation of Syrians in the diaspora through elections, if and when possible.
During two days of intense work, the meeting discussed in depth the papers presented to the Congress to reach a national charter that would be the entry point we aspire for Syrians to agree upon, as the least common denominator, to save their homeland and their future.
With this charter, the Congress addresses all the Syrian people and will endeavor to hold a comprehensive national conference for all Syrians. The charter also pledges to work closely with all Syrians to develop a working plan for the whole Syrian nation in the form of a document that includes what was agreed upon during the Congress.
In closing, the organizers of the Congress would like to express their sincere gratitude to those who participated in the conference in person or via Zoom. They especially thank Dr. Hazem Nahar, Mr. Hassan Al-Aswad, Dr. Louay Safi, and Mr. Ayman Abu Hashem for their valuable contributions that greatly enriched the deliberations, albeit virtually. They also thank Dr. Raghda Zeidan, Dr. Mudar Riyad Al-Debs, Dr. Fayez Al-Kuntar, Dr. Jamal Al-Shouf, and Mr. Muhammad Al-Obaid for their papers presented to the conference that helped guide discussions.
Political and practical outcomes
- Reaffirming the fundamental demands of the Syrian revolution to overthrow the dictatorship and the authoritarian state in Syria and establish a Syrian society based on freedom, dignity, equality, and justice.
- Develop an action plan to communicate with Syrians in the homeland and the diaspora to endorse the Charter emanating from the conference and call for their input in convening a general meeting for Syrians grounded on sincerity, efficiency, justice, integrity, transparency, and independence.
- Establishing a website run by Syrian media professionals will mobilize the Syrian people to speak on behalf of the Conference, convey its messaging, and spread the voice of the Syrian people to the world without compromising the Syrian national decision.
An expanded follow-up committee was selected by the participants with the mandate of working to spread the National Charter among all Syrians and to communicate with Syrians in the diaspora and at home to hold a comprehensive conference for Syrians next year.
Khaldoun Al-Aswad; Tariq Abu-Ghazaleh; Tawfiq Al-Hallaq; Fadi Aroudaki; Tamam Al-Barazi; Bashar Al-Aswad; Mary Al-Badeen; Mirna Barq; Feras Al-Hlu; Firas Al-Aroudaki; Huda Al-Jurd; Wael Sawah; Muhammad Naji; Jasmine Hojo; and Sohaib Al-Agha; M.M.; A.H.; M.E..
Many names have been concealed or initialized by request of the owners.
The following are the ten principles of the Syrian National Charter that emerged from the conference’s meetings:
THE SYRIAN NATIONAL CHARTER
Syria is the homeland of all Syrians regardless of ethnic, tribal, religious, race, origin, or other identities. Governance is established and based on impartiality toward all constituents, groups, and individuals.
Syria is an independent, sovereign nation over its nationally recognized borders, conducting its political affairs in the interest of the Syrian people and their mutual values.
Religious freedoms, independence of religious institutions from the government, and independence of government institutions from religion are guaranteed.
All Syrians born to a Syrian father, a Syrian mother, or those born on the Syrian land, are citizens with full citizenship rights and citizenship obligations. Ethnicity, race, place of birth, identity, or language shall not deprive any individual of their citizenship rights.
Syria is a democratic nation with a government that guarantees dignity to its citizens and peacefully transfers its powers through free, direct, and secret ballot box elections. Every citizen has a single vote in local and national elections.
Syria is to be established based on the supremacy of the rules of law and the principle of equal citizenship.
The people of Syria hold power through a parliament elected by its citizens and under a constitution that achieves their mutual interests.
The Syrian Constitution shall guarantee individual and general freedoms, primarily freedoms of speech, religion, press, expression, and rights of peaceful assembly, strike, and protest.
Guarantee the right to form civic, local, and political organizations.
The Syrian Constitution shall adopt the principle of separation of executive, judicial and legislative powers.