NORTH and EAST SYRIA: Expanded Committee for drafting new Social Contract holds its final session

HASAKAH, Syria – The Expanded Committee for the drafting of the new Social Contract for the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria started its final 3-day consultation meeting on Saturday, in the Sardam cultural center in Hasakah.

The meeting comes after the General Council of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) formed a smaller committee of 30 members on July 15th, to work on and prepare a draft Social Contract. The new Social Contract, in effect a kind of constitution for North and East Syria, has been reviewed and discussed during extensive sessions with all relevant stakeholders, communities, and social and political organizations in North and East Syria. The new Social Contract will legally unify all political, social, and economic provisions and laws for all civil administrations in all regions of the DAA.

This final session has the participation of 157 members, representatives of the Democratic Autonomous Administration, political parties, youth movements, jurists, and civil society organizations. After this last session, the draft for the new Social Contract will be submitted to the DAA’s General Council for approval.

The democratic model of North and East Syria is a counter-response to the dictatorial and suppressive governance model of the Ba’ath regime in Daramsuq (Damascus) and the religious extremist governance model of Islamic State and the Islamist and jihadist groups now running Idlib province. The democratic autonomous model is intended as a guiding political and cultural principle for all of Syria. The new Social Contract is the result of the will of the different components to live together. It is a departure from the principle where the strong status-quo power oppresses smaller communities with violence and intimidation.

According to the Syriac high-level politician Bassam Said Ishak, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council Representation in Washington, the democratic model of North and East Syria supports a groundbreaking principle of inclusion: each position of power is held not just by one individual but two, one man and one woman, each of different ethnic or religious affiliations.

“The social contract that was eventually drafted in North and East Syria was a contract that articulated the best parts of democracy. It included protections for individual rights, women’s rights, freedom of religion, and collective rights such as the right to learn in your native language and recognition of the identity of ethnic groups. This became the founding document of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), which is now the governing body of one-third of Syria,” he wrote in the article “Searching for a Meaningful Democracy in Syria” published in the Syrian Democratic Times.