Shoresh Darwish: Supra-constitutional principles protect the constitution

The writer Shoresh Darwish said that how Ezdina Organization calls its project " A Constitution That Protects Us" has many meanings about the importance of the constitution.

Darwish’s speech came during his participation via the “Zoom”, in the sixth dialogue session organized by Ezdina, within its project “A Constitution That Protects Us”, in the city of Hasaka, with the participation of a group of young 
civic activists of women and men.

During his intervention, Darwish spoke about how constitutions were formed and emerged in Syria and about the subject of supra-constitutional principles.

At the beginning of his intervention, Darwish narrated a historical incident dating back more than 100 years about the war that took place during the years 1904 and 1905 between Japan and Russia, as Japan was the only Asian country that had a constitution, while Russia was the only European country that did not have a constitution at that time.

Darwish explained that this prompted people to think about the meanings of the constitution, pointing to the constitutional revolution in Iran between 1905 and 1911, when thousands of Iranians came out to demand the constitution.

The Kurdish writer said that the first constitution was under the Ottoman Empire in 1876, which was promulgated during the time of Sultan Abdul Hamid and was called the "Basic Law of the State", while in 1856 and during the reign of Sultan Abdul Majid the so-called "Hamayuni Line" was the closest to the formula of constitutions, but came to organize places of worship.

Darwish added that the Ottoman state moved from the character of the Islamic state to a kind of pluralistic state, but soon the Ottoman constitution disappeared and its work was nullified until the governor of Damascus Medhat Pasha in 1896 undertook a constitutional reform and said that the constitution would protect the state and he became called Medhat Pasha as "Father of Constitution".

Darwish added that with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1920, Faisal's royal government announced a constitution that lasted for an entire year, as Syria witnessed the first very bold secular constitution that did not speak about religion or 
national Arab issues, and defined the rights and duties of citizens, and one of the remarkable points in the 1920 constitution is that freedom of expression was guaranteed in the constitution, in addition to that torture is not permitted in detention centers, and the press had the right to publish. The constitution also specified that the king’s religion should be Islam, but it was a secondary point that does not detract from the secularism of the constitution.

And Darwish added that with the French mandate in Syria in 1928, during the era of delegate Hernie Bonsu, had put in place the first constitution, as Bonso approved the Syrian flag in accordance with Resolution 3111, which is called the Flag of the Revolution in the meantime.

Darwish added that in 1945 the Syrians removed many articles from the constitution, and in 1950 the Syrians drafted a constitution in which they focused on the religious aspect and defined the name of the republic as Arab and the rest of the Syrian components were thus abolished, and the constitution specified that the religion of the president of the republic should be Islam.

The writer pointed out that the constitution drafted by Adeeb al-Shishakli enshrined the concept of the republic and gave wide powers to the president of the republic, as several constitutions were repeated in Syria up to the constitution that President Gamal Abdulnasser had drafted for the United Republic in 1958, and after that was the secession constitution that called Syria the Arab Republic, which caused a rift between Syrian components.

Darwish explained that with Ba'ath Party taking power in Syria, it issued several constitutions, including the interim constitution of 1961, the constitution of 1966, the constitution of 1969, and the constitution issued by Hafez al-Assad in 1971, which affirmed that Baath Party is the leader of the state and the people and thus abolished all political parties.

Darwish added that in 2012, after the protests in Syria,  Ba'ath Party amended the constitution and abolished many articles, such as Article 8 of the constitution, but kept many problematic articles such as that Islam is the source of legislation and not allowing women to run for the presidency.

Darwish asserted that more than 100 years of constitutions in Syria have been drawn up at the whims of the coups or rulers, pointing out that the constitution is one of the basic issues that will draw the future of Syria, and that the presence and representation of youth, women, minorities must be present in the constitution.

The Kurdish writer spoke about the 
supra-constitutional principles, saying that they are principles fortifying the constitution whereby the Syrian people can change something in the constitution, which is considered a legitimate right for them, but with the presence of supra-constitutional articles that no one can change.

Darwish added that the constitutional process in Geneva would have been important if its members had been elected, pointing out that the reality of the constitution in Syria is subject to political bazaars, as there are countries that refused to have seats and representatives for the regions of northeastern Syria to participate in the drafting of the constitution, in addition to the absence of religious and ethnic components. Such as Yazidis and 
Syriac, whether within the delegation of the regime or the opposition, and to a large extent within the civil society bloc.



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A Constitution That Protects Us - Ezdina Organization: Shoresh Darwish: Supra-constitutional principles protect the constitution
Shoresh Darwish: Supra-constitutional principles protect the constitution
A Constitution That Protects Us - Ezdina Organization
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