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“The Federal System in Syria strengthens and Enhances the Unity of the Country” in an Open Seminar

In collaboration with the Kurdish Youth Movement and sponsored by the Syrian Business Forum, the Kurdish Center for Studies and Legal Consultancy-YASA organized an open seminar on 22.11.2013 in Istanbul, Turkey under the title : the Kurdish Areas in Syria between the Federal System and Self-Administration.

 The Jurist and member of YASA, Aref Gabeau held a presentation in the seminar, in which he defined federalism as a political and decentralized system of a state, and dealt with the legal and constitutional foundations on which this system is based. He also discussed the advantages of the federal system, compared to the central system, most important: the implementation of democratic principles, public involvement in political life, providing transparency and clarity in the work of the government as well as the practice of public scrutiny on it. Besides, federalism prevents the centralization of authority and power in the center and precludes the establishment of a dictatorial and authoritarian regime as is the case with the central system from which Syria is suffering since decades. Furthermore, one of the advantages of the federal system is that it maintains the social, cultural, ethnic and religious diversity in the country and it achieves the legal and political pluralism in the country.

Then the lawyer Shahnaz Shekhe, also member of YASA, presented the work of the civil society organizations, the reality they experience and the difficulties and obstacles they encounter during the practice of their activities in Syria. She also discussed the underlying foundations and principles of such organizations and that the way should be paved for them so that they can carry out their activities freely and independently and be an effective partner through the running of societal issues and the drafting of the state's policies. Mrs. Shekhe also asserted not to marginalize the work of such organizations or try to link them to a third-party or any political organization or party, the thing that would rob the decision of these organizations and make them lose their independence, leading to their paralysis and non-operating existence.

The second part of the seminar was dedicated for an open discussion and dialogue, where many of the attendees gave their observations and opinions about the subject, particularly as regards the Kurdish demands and the future of the political system and its form in a post-Assad Syria. The attendees also had the chance to pose their questions to Aref Gabeau and Shahnaz Shekhe.

The seminar was attended by many representatives and members of the political parties, including Ghassan Hito, representative of the Syrian Business Forum, the representative of the Kurdish National Council in the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as well as representatives of Kurdish parties, including the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the runner of the self-administration project, representatives of the Revolutionary and the Body of the Free Army Staff, the local council in al-Hasakah Province, the head of the National Opposition Bloc and others.

The seminar received attention and coverage from many Kurdish and Arab news agencies, TVs and websites.

Bonn: Kurdish Center for Studies and Legal Consultancy- YASA