This Charter was produced by the amalgamation of the following five documents:
. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
. Basic Rights for the Federal Republic of Germany (https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf)
. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
. US Bill of Rights
. European Convention on Human Rights
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms determines the fundamental human rights of a Syrian person, while a Constitution determines the structure and political composition of the state.
This or a similar Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be put to national referendum before a Constitution is drawn up for Syria. The authors of the Constitution shall be bound to the Articles of this Charter.
The terms “Syrian”, and “person” are interchangeable throughout this document.
Syria Charter of Rights and Freedoms
(Charter, Release 1.6, Aug. 2015, twenty three Articles)
Whereas all human beings are created equal in dignity and rights, a Syrian is naturally endowed with universal human rights and freedoms as follows:
Article 1. Inviolability and Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms – The rights and freedoms contained in this Syria Charter of Rights and Freedoms and entitled by a Syrian are inviolable and inalienable, and may not be abrogated by the state whether freely elected or duly composed. For the state and its authorities to remain legitimate, they shall respect and enforce this Charter unconditionally and to its full extent. This Charter guarantees the rights and freedoms, as noted herein, of all citizens, residents, minorities, and subjects of Syria equally.
Article 2. Life, Liberty and Security of Person – Each person has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice subject to this Charter.
Article 3. Fundamental Freedoms – Every person is naturally endowed with the following inalienable fundamental freedoms:
(a) Freedom of speech;
(b) Freedom of conscience, thought, opinion, and belief;
(c) Freedom of expression, parody, communication, and mass publishing;
(d) Freedom to access information, research, teach, and of education;
(e) Freedom of the press and from censorship;
(f) Freedom to publicly criticize or make parody of the state, government, politicians, public officials, public persons, historical figures, military and law enforcement, institutions, religion, ideology, parties, associations, communities and groups, including the freedom to disagree with or offend others;
(g) Freedom of and from association;
(h) Freedom of peaceful assembly;
(i) Freedom to publicly practice or instruct a minority culture, language, or mode of existence; and
(j) Freedom of private economic initiative and enterprise.
Article 4. Equality before and under Law and Equal Protection and Benefit of Law – Every person has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law and is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, minority status, parentage, kinship, sex, gender, age, mental or physical disability, philosophy or religion, political or other opinion, property, or other status.
Article 5. Rights Guaranteed Equally to Sexes – Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male, female, or gendered persons.
Article 6. Religious Rights –
Every person has the right to:
(a) be free of religion;
(b) belong to a religion;
(c) change one’s religion or beliefs; and
(d) privately practice and observe one’s religion alone or in community with others.
Religious rights are subject to and conditional on the observation of all the rights and freedoms in this Charter.
Article 7. Separation of Mosque and State –
(a) Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that the legitimate powers of the state concerns actions only, and not opinions – the state shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof – and the mosque shall not interfere in, or exercise influence on the conduct of the state – thus building a wall of separation between Mosque and State;
(b) The state may not give preference or offer accommodation to any religion;
(c) Religious parties, religious assemblies, charities or foundations, or members of the clergy are prohibited to participate in political activity or in profit making activities; and
(d) No religious precept, religious edict, or religious supervision is allowed to interfere in the affairs of the state or any of its branches, including in legislation or in adjudication.
Article 8. Right to Privacy and Quiet Pursuit of Happiness –
(a) No person shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or with his right to the quiet pursuit of happiness; and
(b) Except for public persons, historic figures, government, community and religious bodies, and institutions, no person shall be subject to attacks upon his honour and reputation, and a private person has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 9. Mobility Rights – Every person has the right to enter, remain, exit, and is free to move or reside within the borders of his or her state.
Article 10. Rights to Nutrition, Education, Health, Housing and Social Security – Each person has the right to free and adequate nutritional intake, sixteen years of primary, secondary, and merit-based university education, health and medical care, minimum but adequate housing allowance, clothing, disability assistance, old age assistance, and social security to an adequate standard of living. Each person has the right to an individual guaranteed minimum income, irrespective of employment status or the desire to participate in the work force. Minors shall receive a fraction of said income.
Article 11. Property, Market, and Competitive Rights –
(a) A person has the right to freely and privately own property, produce property, buy, sell, or exchange property in a free and open market, consume or dispose of property, including capital property and the means of production, competitively and without the creation of a monopoly, individually as well as in association with others;
(b) No person shall be arbitrarily or unreasonably deprived of his or her property, or of income from the property, nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation;
(c) No person shall be arbitrarily or unreasonably deprived from freely buying, selling or exchanging property, or otherwise participating or creating a market for the property;
(d) A person has the right to compete with others including the state, and no person shall be arbitrarily or unreasonably deprived from competition in the production, import, or export of goods, utilities, services, and information;
(e) The state may democratically impose a reasonable limit on the net wealth or assets of a person, or the assets of a private corporation, through progressive taxation as may be necessary to hold said assets to a strict upper bound;
(f) The state may democratically impose a reasonable limit on the market share held by a private corporation in a market for the trading of a good or service, with the intention to encourage competition and discourage the monopolization of the market;
(g) Private corporations engaged in trading goods or services in a market, if in possession of 20% or more of the market share, shall be subject to the same limitations as that of the state in this Charter, excepting Article 13(a); and
(h) Private corporations and entities receiving public funds or grants from state organs are considered state agencies and are subject to the same limitations as that of the state in this Charter, excepting Article 13(a).
Article 12. Labour, Rights to Work and Rest –
(a) A person is the rightful owner of the fruits of his or her own labour, or alternately in lieu of the labour, to just and freely agreed compensation commensurate to market rates.
(b) A person has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just, safe, and favourable conditions of work and to reasonable protection against unemployment;
(c) A person who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration commensurate to the market, has the right to equal pay for equal work, and without any discrimination; and
(d) A person has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 13. Separation of Production and State –
(a) The state may not engage in economic activity, unless of a research and development nature, or that it may be proven beyond doubt that the activity is necessary, is cost effective, and no person or persons are willing or capable of engaging in same;
(b) The state may not favor any particular person or enterprise, including state enterprises if any, in its laws, regulations, policies, or decisions;
(c) The state may not arbitrarily or unreasonably interfere or compete with a person in the production, import, or export of goods, utilities, services, and information;
(d) Any such engagement, interference, or competition by the state shall be kept to the absolute minimum necessary, will be subject to periodic reviews, and in case it is referred to arbitration by a person for being unfair or against this Charter the burden of proof shall be on the state and not the person, and the person shall receive the benefit of the doubt;
(e) A person may contribute annually a total amount of not more than 5% of the GNP per capita towards political activities that determine the government or its policies such as electoral campaigns. Any unused exemption shall carry forward indefinitely at half the amount; and
(f) Only a person may contribute to political activity that determine the government or its policies.
Article 14. Self-Determination and Democratic Rights –
(a) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the state and its government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures, after a reasonable period of free, open, and unfettered campaigning; no public or religious funds may be used to influence the outcome of a plebiscite;
(b) A person has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(c) No person may remain in the same elected office for more than two terms;
(d) A person has the right of equal access to public service in his or her country;
(e) Religious entities or members of the clergy may not participate or influence in any manner a campaign or a plebiscite;
(f) Members of the clergy may not run for public office and may not hold a position in the judiciary or any branch of the government;
(g) Elected representatives or government officials may not enact a law, or promulgate a regulation, policy, or directive which may target a religion or which may have a religious basis;
(h) Minority rights are to be upheld and are not subject to arbitrary or unreasonable majoritarian suffrage; and
(i) Any sizable region with well defined geographic boundaries, whether ethnically homogeneous or not, has the right subject to this Charter to declare political autonomy in a plebiscite with the consent of 62.5% majority of the inhabitants. Said region will then enter into confederation with other regions. The Articles of this Charter shall apply to the autonomous region.
Article 15. Detention or Imprisonment – A person has the right not to be arbitrarily searched, detained, imprisoned, or exiled.
Article 16. Arrest or Detention – A person has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons thereof;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Article 17. Proceedings in Criminal and Penal Matters – Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried publicly within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under national or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
Article 18. Treatment or Punishment – A person has the right not to be subjected to torture or any cruel, inhuman, degrading or unusual treatment or punishment.
Article 19. Self-Incrimination – A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.
Article 20. Enforcement of Guaranteed Right and Freedoms / Exclusion of evidence bringing administration of justice into disrepute –
(a) Any person whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, has been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances;
(b) Where, in proceedings under subsection (a), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
Article 21. Binding Law –
The Constitution, Statutes, Acts, and Laws of the state are bounded by the Articles of this Charter as directly applicable law. The Articles of this Charter take precedence over the Constitution as may be drafted by a competent and representative assembly, and take precedence over Statutes, Acts, and Laws as may be enacted by the Parliament or a legal body. In case of conflict between this Charter and any other document including state documents or documents based on religion, the Articles of this Charter shall govern.
Article 22. Limitation of Rights and Freedoms –
(a) Nothing in this Charter may be interpreted as implying for any state, group, community or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein;
(b) The rights and freedoms herein apply to a person, and this Charter may not be interpreted as bestowing said rights and freedoms to a state, group, or community;
(c) In the exercise of his or her rights and freedoms, a person shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of other persons;
(d) Expression of generalized hatred or vilification, leading to imminent violence or practical discrimination, against a person or a group of persons identified by race, national or ethnic origin, colour, parentage, kinship, sex, gender, age, mental or physical disability, philosophy or religion, political or other opinion, property, or other status, may be regulated by law; but there may be no regulation against expression that targets ideas, beliefs, culture, religion, philosophies or ideologies, facts or theories, the state, government, community or religious bodies and institutions, public persons, or historical figures;
(e) Lawful limitation to protect underage persons;
(f) Actions, except that of Article 23(b), by the state or any of its organs or organized agencies, group, community, or a person targeted towards the termination or limitation of rights, freedoms, or the democratic rights of others enshrined in this Charter are themselves not subject to protection by this Charter; and
(g) Actions, except that of Article 23(b), by a person, group, or community targeted towards the termination or limitation of rights, freedoms, or the democratic rights of others enshrined in this Charter shall result in the deprivation of said rights from the subject of such actions.
Article 23. Immutability, and Right to Resist –
(a) The following Articles are immutable: 1 through 14, 21 through 23;
(b) Other Articles of this Charter may not be amended unless with the consent of 75% or more of persons subject to this Charter, and only after a period of 9 months of public, open, free and fair debate on the proposed amendment, said amendment having received the signatures of 5% of the population in a petition;
(c) No Article of this Charter may be suspended under any condition.
(d) Each person entitled to the rights and freedoms of this Charter has the right to resist any attempt that may deprive the person of said rights and freedoms; and
(e) Should any person’s rights be violated by public authority, the person shall have recourse to the courts.
End of Charter