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ASO Concludes a Dialogue Session on Human Rights and Independence of IDPs and Returnees in Northeastern Syria


ASO Center for Consultancy and Strategic Studies organized a dialogue session on human rights and the independence of IDPs and returnees in Northeastern Syria.

ASO organized the session to complement the previous session, entitled "Psychological and Social Safety", as part of the activities of the "Enhancing Participatory Democracy Approach" project, supported by the Norwegian People's Aid Organization (NPA).

Representatives of the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP), which is monitored by a number of international organizations, including the Denmark and Norway Refugee Councils, have participated via Zoom Application. Their work includes research, advocacy and support for civil society, and they’re also concerned with displaced Syrians and refugees. As well, focus on durable solutions for the displaced. The International Relief Organization and 56 representatives of members of the NES NGO Platform also participated in the session.

Participants discussed the legal problems faced by displaced persons and returnees, the prevalence and reasons of family separations, opportunities for family reunification and groups without the capacity to reunite their families.

Moreover, participants examined the situation of displaced persons who do not have the right and control to make decisions about returning to their homes, the group most vulnerable to lack of control over decision-making about return, as well as the possibility of confidence-building and peace processes among communities or even at the regional level.

Members of the NES NGO Platform noted that the biggest problem facing displaced persons was the loss of personal identity papers, property documents and education. "They have difficulty obtaining evidence and registering their children in government services, and these problems eventually have a negative psychological impact."

Participants indicated that the group most at risk of separation are minors, especially females, whose parents marry them off for reasons related to displacement and difficult living circumstances, in order to reduce their living burden. They explained that the reasons for family separations are; "the absence of a caregiver, forced military recruitment, and the financial factor, which is the principal cause of all the difficulties of life, not merely the separation of the family. Moreover, the change in the culture of Syrian society after the war, and the psychological situation is a very influential factor for family relations and their dismantling, especially in the wars and humanitarian, social and other crises."

Participants found that family reunification and the reduction of family separations requires providing: "job opportunities, and awareness sessions on the effects of family separations and early marriages (minors), which should be conducted by CSOs, while the local authorities are required to address these problems, which have negative effects on society in general. This is because strict laws and the availability of awareness centers will inevitably reduce these cases, in addition to creating job opportunities as much as possible."

Anoud Abu Hasan, the representative of the DSP, asked a set of questions in the second axis of the meeting, which included clarification and information about the desire of the displaced to return to their homes, their decision-making capacity, and the reasons why displaced people are prevented from taking such decisions.

The members of the NES NGO Platform agreed that: "The right to return does not lie in hands of the displaced, although everyone has a desire to return to their homes and to rid themselves of the suffering of displacement. However, it is a purely political decision of the major States in conflict over the regions."

According to the participants, the Kurds of Ras Al-Ain/Serekaniye and Tell Abyad/Gire Spi are the most affected group that have no chance of controlling the decision to return to their places of origin, due to the presence of Syrian Muslim factions and the presence of the Turkish army in the occupied cities."

During the session, participants spoke about projects implemented by local civil organizations on issues of social cohesion, civil peace and the relationship between displaced persons and indigenous peoples. They identified a shortfall in such projects, owing to poor funding.

Participants noted the importance of supporting the building of psychological and community support centers, organizing events and activities that contribute to social cohesion, and giving women, children and youth space of support through specialized projects.

Representatives of the NES NGO Platform called for increased coordination between international donors and the NES NGO Platform to support the issues of displaced persons and indigenous peoples in Northeastern Syria.

After the session, the representative of the DSP thanked ASO for Consultancy and Strategic Studies for organizing the second discussion session on displaced persons and returnees, and the members of the NES NGO Platform for their cooperation in participating in the session and enriching it with information and views on the region and the displaced persons there.

Earlier, ASO Centre had implemented a series of dialogue sessions and meetings between representatives of the NES NGO Platform with the EU Delegation for Syrian Affairs, a group of international civil actors and international donors concerned with humanitarian matters in Northeastern Syria.

It is worth noting that the general goal of this session is to enhance confidence between the members of the NES NGO Platform and international actors. As well as, to establish channels of communication among them, and to explain and discuss the challenges and difficulties facing displaced persons and the right to return to their homes in the regions of Northeastern Syria.

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