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Those Identity-Document Deprived and Stateless Persons: How the 1962 Census Turned Kurds into Foreigners in their Country

The Syrian regime and the previous successive Syrian regimes in power in Syria, have worked to undermine the Kurdish presence in Syria and reduce its weight in the main regions, such as al-Hasaka, Kobani and Afrin. Therefore, one of the most significant means the Syrian government utilized, was the census issue, which essentially aims to convert the majority of the Kurdish population in al-Jazeera into an Arab majority. This was in order to stop any future Kurdish endeavor towards demanding self-rule or independence, and although al-Jazeera remained with a Kurdish majority, citizenship was not granted to a large percentage of the Syrian Kurds until recently, however, to a small percentage.

Moreover, the Syrian regimes worked to integrate the Kurds into the predominantly Arab governorates, and did not grant them any administrative independence, consequently, creating an administrative dilemma within the demographics. Markada area was annexed to al-Hasaka governorate, Kobani and Afrin became part of Aleppo, and Tell Abyad a part of Raqqa, with the aim to transform the Kurds from a majority to a minority in the governorates of Raqqa and Aleppo, however, the Kurds remained a majority in al-Hasaka governorate despite all these attempts.

Anyways, neither the Syrian regime nor the Syrian constitution perceives the Kurds present in Syria, since the Syrian constitution restricts all Syrians to the Arabic citizenship and considers other nationalities as identities branching from the Arabic identity of the Syrian people. Also, concerning the personal identity, Kurds are Syrian Arab citizens.

After coming to power in Syria, the Syrian regime intended to enhance pressure on the Kurds, by preventing the Kurdish language, music, culture and heritage, banning Kurdish political and civil organizations and groups, not recognizing their rights, placing them in prisons, exiling them, and preventing them from their most basic civil rights. This was to an extent that the naturalized and non-naturalized Kurds had similar rights.

Table of Contents:

Executive Summary:
Nationality in Syria
Nonregistered Persons and the Denationalized
Loss of Civil Rights
2011 Naturalization Law:
Conclusions and Recommendations
Sources and References

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