Thu 19 Sep 2019

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“Reconstruction” Might Lead To Further Human Rights Violations in Syria, Report Says

A woman among the debris of her house, hit by a Russian air raid in Kafr Nabl, Idlib – May 20, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

A woman among the debris of her house, hit by a Russian air raid in Kafr Nabl, Idlib – May 20, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

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Under the title “Business Activity Linked to Human Rights in Syria,” the Syrian Legal Development Program (SLDP) has issued a report monitoring business activities that might contribute to international crimes and violations of human rights in Syria, while it analyzes these activities in the light of the International Law.

On Friday, August 23, the organization published the findings documented by its affiliated Human Rights and Business Unit from April 1st to September 13th, 2018.

The organization pointed out that it chose this specific period as not to jeopardize the current investigations into most recent business activities and their effects on human rights.

It also accentuated that the findings the report contains present the types of human rights violations and the crimes in which companies and actors of the Syrian business activities participate, in addition to the actors who are actually committing these violations.

The report also expects that the reconstruction process, under its current shape, will create a convenient environment for additional international crimes and business-related human rights violations.

The data, which the report provides, indicate the possibility that a number of international actors have played a role in committing international crimes and human rights violations in Syria, among whom are the companies owned by the Syrian regime, the Syrian business elites, and the multinational companies which have partnerships with these elites, as well as the companies the ownership of which belongs to the states of Iran and Russia, in addition to companies affiliated with these two countries.

The companies, willing to invest in Syria via the reconstruction process, might find themselves involved in human rights violations and international crimes committed by the Syrian regime and its allies, according to the report.

The report has also documented business-related activities that have been pursued by means of the new real-estate legislation, which might be found guilty of boosting the enforced displacement of civilians.

The report also explained that the business-related activities which had a role in the projects implemented within the context of Decree No: 66 and Law No:10 could amount to a participation in the war crime of theft of the indigenous people’s properties, breaching their right into ownership and right not to be deprived of one’s property, right to adequate housing, and the right to return.

Even though several international actors have declared their abstinence from participating in Syria’s reconstruction unless an agreement on political transition is reached, the report monitored that several European companies have started engaging in the process, including British, French, Spanish, Belgian, Greek companies, through partnerships with Syrian investors, in addition to companies affiliated with North and South Korea, Malaysia, Kuwait, Abkhazia and the UAE.

The United Nations describes the destruction in Syria as “unprecedented,” estimating that the reconstruction process’ costs might amount to about 400 billion dollars, in agreement with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, who estimated that the reconstruction process is to take 10 to 15 years.

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