In a not so surprising step, and in an interesting confirmation by the minister about her efforts to develop the developmental work in Syria and the transformation of the organizations from charity to developing, the Lady minister has decided to break up the social initial organization!

and the mentioned decision dated 24th Jan.2007 which the organization received in 6th Feb.2007 doesn’t provide any reason to break the organization! and of course, we won’t even go through the legal flaw with reason-free break up decision!
The social initial organization had started its work in 2001, through a group of active Syrian women who cared about the social issues in Syria, especially women issues. They were able to gather the public opinion about the age of the custody and the home of the nursing mother problem, with the participation of many organizations, fronts, and individuals. They gathered around 15 000 signatures and gave them to the parliament who decided, based on this work, to raise the age of the custody for the boy to 13 years and for the girl to 15 years, but refused the term about the necessity to provide home for the nursing mother. the organization had also participated in the national campaign to stop the murder of women by the excuse of “honor”! They participated in the general area of social work concerning women issues in Syria.
so that’s the case! that’s how supporting the developmental work is? by breaking one of the most important organizations which worked for women issues over the past 5 years! The organization that managed to raise up a wide controversy about many important issues in Syrian laws! and why? for the sake of “public interest”! then what is this public interest?
That’s an easy question. The public interest in the ministry of work and social affairs is the desire of the minister and nothing else. Her previous desire to forbid the organizations from contacting with governmental fronts and working with them! Because the ministry has become a private independent kingdom with a private law! and dealing with any other ministry or front, governmental or non, is considered a national betray for the ministry! otherwise, what would be the public interest in breaking up the social initial organization?
Maybe some copies of certain warnings addressed to the organization can point out the hidden truth:
On 16th Jan.2007 the ministry decided to refuse the application of the organization for initiating a workshop with the headline “Entry to the gender (the social type)” for a group of elementary school teachers in Damascus! and as usual the ministry-minister didn’t have any justification for this refusal.
also, on 15th Dec.2006 the ministry-minister refused the organization’s request to participate in Amman’s meeting for national society organizations against American domination (of course, because the opposition of American domination is contradicted to the “public interest”!). And the refusal contained a sentence that we quote literally: “we warn your organization and alert you to participate before having the permission first”! the amazing part is that this decision was filed on 15th Dec.2006 while the meeting was on 30th Nov.2006! but of course, that is according to the international Gregorian date , not according to the minister’s date that has its own course and its own considerations! besides, the decisions of the lady minister like this one, are probably the only ones that has this kind of formula “we warn and alert you”!!
Nada Alali, head of the board of directors of the social initial organization told “Syrian Women”:
The decision wasn’t surprising. we have received several warnings through out last year, which was the year we practically did nothing worth mentioning! how would it have been if we had truly worked? and all of the warnings had formulas of threatening and alerting! which totally contradicts what the ministry claims of supporting the developmental work!
in fact, the direction of the minister towards hassling and breaking us was beginning to clarify since we released the famous survey about what matters the most to the Syrian woman in the legal laws that relates to her in 2003, even though the survey was released with the permission of the minister herself. But because some sheiks objected to the work, the ministry rushed to smother the organization.. and the release was stopped and the organization’s work was frozen! and the last decision is only the end of this course.
strangely, in our meeting with the vice-president Dr. Najah Alattar Dec.2006, she was rather surprised about the request to stop the survey and pointed out that the request of adjusting some law has been a demand since the seventies of the last century. and there were objectors back then, but the work didn’t stop just because there was a second opinion.
Mrs. Nada Alali assured that the organization will study the thought of filing a case to the Syrian court objecting to the decision.
Mrs. Sawsan Zakzak, an activist in women issues, expressed her surprise about the break up, saying: “breaking up the social initial organization falls into the course of a clear campaign by the ministry of work and social affairs to get in the way of the organizations’ work in Syria. and they are working so hard to find excuses to stop these organizations from doing what they are supposed to do. and instead of lightening the chains of the basic insufficient law, they are complicating things and adding new obstacles to the civil work in Syria.”
Mrs. Zakzak also wondered: “where are the minister’s promises, that were over two years ago, of changing the organizations’ law? and to the benefit of whom does a women in the position of power make gestures that targets the enlightening organizations which raises a developmental program that the country needs so bad to fill up its developmental gaps?”
the Lawyer Abd Alla Ali, manager of Syrian court and law website , and one of the activists in the civil society issues in Syria, commented on the decision to break up the social initial organization saying: “the decision released by the ministry of work and social affairs to break up the organization expresses the roughness of the legal environment surrounding the social work in Syria, and the loss of democracy and freedom foundations in practicing this work.”
We should mention that the break up decision is illegal and unconstitutional because it contradicts the script 48 of the constitution that gave citizens the right to have these organizations and never talked about breaking them up. and also the legal script the minister has relied on in her decision is considered unconstitutional and therefore not obligatory because it denies the members of the organization of challenging the break up decision before the legal courts and specifies the ability to challenge to be before the minister herself! that mean that the minister would be the enemy and the judge at the same time! which contradicts the most basic and simple laws of defense that apply to all the legislations in the world!
we demand the lady minister to back down on her decision and give the life back to the organization and to consider the great effort and work that this organization does in the field of spreading awareness and establishing services.
Mr. Maeen Abd Alsalam, the head of Itana’s publishing house, and an activist in the civil society issues, said commenting on the decision: “it is very necessary for the ministry of work and social affairs to recognize and acknowledge the importance of the civil society movement in all the developmental areas. and to admit that its organizations are partners in the development, and that the organizing law of this work would be fair and supportive of this partnership.
but the problem is that the bureaucratic work system in the governmental institutions doesn’t allow the civil work (developmental- charity- ..) to work well in the first place. it is based on the management chains that doesn’t recognize anything but orders and decisions. and that’s probably what’s keeping from understanding the rule and efficiency of civil society organizations in developing the society, and the importance of their partnership in running the society as a social, economical and political structure. the decision made today to break up the social initial organization is an unfair decision that doesn’t’ serve in the direction of developing the Syrian society, and forms a really strong stroke to the organizations and fronts working towards it.”
Mrs. Yemen Abu Hasan, an activist in women issues, wondered about the decision: “public interest!! it’s such a stretchable phrase that could include anything and the organizations have already discussed the organization’s law and objected on the break up validity given according to the current ministry law. especially that this validity isn’t redetected by the law .” and Mrs. Yemen pointed out that the decision “didn’t include any justifications for the break up, if there were any! and it doesn’t fit in with the developing reality of the Syrian society, and contradicts what is being raised about developing the work of organizations towards the developmental work”.
Clearly that the problem of the ministry of work and social affairs, and it standing in the way of any developmental move that doesn’t pass through the minister’s table, and subjects to what she sees proper, has become a problem upsetting the workers in this society! adding to the flaws of the organizations’ law a flaw that is worse and with more bitter consequences! either by forbidding workshops and participation with other governmental fronts or by refusing to give licenses (the Syrian women association, the national organization for human rights..) or by pressuring organizations to do this or say that, or to forbid a front from participating in activities or by preferring one front over another! or of course by breaking up certain boards that she didn’t like what they were doing or the fact that they were trying to improve our reality the thing that may damage the complicated network of interests between the managers in these organizations and the ministry… The lady minister goes on in her way of destroying what has been built over the past 6 years of openness! and it’s now necessary to say that she not only destroys the already weak organization by choking them in every way, and by refusing to give licenses, or by breaking them like today… but also that a big part of her campaign has been directed towards a governmental front which is the Syrian body for family affairs ! and all the workers in the Syrian organizations and institutions know that the lady minister has considered the work of the Syrian body to be a personal violation of her property! and considered every person that cooperates with the body in any way or form, her personal enemy!
this situation is no longer accepted. we must raise the voice against this behavior that contradicts all the formal speeches about developing the society and moving forward towards the developmental work. and the people responsible must stop and think about the disastrous effect that this behavior is causing and who’s causing it, and who stands behind it.

By Bassam Alkadi, 12/2/2007, (Breaking up the social initial organization for the sake of “public interest”!)
Translated by: Areej Shmaies