The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, as a result of indiscriminate shelling and arrests as well as the displacement of large numbers of people, makes finding a solution to the situation the top priority of the Center for Civil Society and Democracy.
The Vienna Communique could be the lifeline for Syrians to emerge from their ordeal, which is nearing its fifth year. This is mainly because the Vienna Communique is based on the Geneva Communique and other internationally recognized initiatives and resolutions, which call for a halt to violence and the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB). The TGB has the potential to lead the country to a democratic life, based on the foundation of respect for human rights.
The Center for Civil Society and Democracy urges the United Nations, the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and the negotiating delegations to work in the following two parallel tracks:
– Ceasefire: an immediate halt to the use of indiscriminate weapons against civilians; humanitarian aid access to all parts of Syria, in particular the destroyed areas; lifting the siege on the besieged areas; the release of prisoners, hostages and arbitrarily detained people; creating the ideal circumstances to resolve the refugee and IDP issues in accordance with the rules of humanitarian law and reconstruction.
– Syrian-led political process based on the Geneva Communique under the auspices of the United Nations. We emphasize forming a Transitional Governing Body based on mutual consent and exercising full executive powers. It will lead to the dismantling of a tyrannical system, work on a new constitution, hold free and fair elections under United Nations supervision, conduct a National Dialogue and set the procedures for accountability for human rights violators and reparations for the victims.
We urge all to guarantee the principle of inclusion; effective and meaningful participation of civil society (community leaders and organizations) and full representation of women; and consultation with all segments of Syrian society in confidence building measures and in the steps of the transition.
We emphasize the obligation to adhere to international treaties and laws, including those relating to human rights and equality, and to guarantee all political and religious rights, the rights of marginalized groups, freedom of beliefs and opinions, and rights and protections for women and minorities.
Detainees should not be part of any bargaining process between the two sides and detainees who have not committed any violations should be released immediately.
When discussing the issue of terrorism it is essential to take the Syrian context and its complications into consideration due to the variation of the local actors and the international and regional interventions. We ask for very specific delimiters for discussing what constitutes terrorism and for combatting it, so that it does not become a vehicle for every side to fulfill its own interests.
The Center for Civil Society and Democracy has no faith in solutions that use violence as a means of political transition. Since its establishment, it has been at the forefront of those who support serious steps to achieve political transition and peace-building using dialogue and negotiation. We value the efforts made by the International Syria Support Group, which resulted in the Vienna Communique on November 14, 2015.