Since Syria ratified the Convention on the Rights of Child on 14 \ 8 \ 1993, it reserved the three materials (14-20-21), for unclear and illogical reasons! What concerns us is Syria's reservation on Article (20), which says:

1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.
This reservation has no warranted clear reasons. Laws should be compatible with the Convention and international conventions take precedence over domestic law. It comes after the Constitution and before the laws, which could be amended in accordance with the terms of the agreement. This means that there must be amended laws, including Juvenile Act, despite the reservation because this is related to the whole Convention.
Article 20 did not ignore the Islamic kafalah, and paid attention to ethnic cultural.
Furthermore, human rights are integrated. No right has priority over another or be enforced without the others. Therefore, reservation to one right of the child is reservation to the whole convention. This is definitely not wanted by Syrian government, which was one of the first who validated the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The idea of establishing a center of abused children has been examined in Syria. The Ministry of Interior and the University of Hamburg in Germany proposed this project. In addition, it was proposed to change the Juvenile Act to be more suitable to the cases that do not require incarceration or rehabilitation of the child but only require to protection or providing safety and psychological and social protection to him.

The drafts and laws are still promises. Indeed, children are imprisoned in these centers, in spite of the slight development. Putting the child with older children or perhaps more familiar with the laws of the street makes him a prey. There is a variety of ages and diverse problems, which lead to the same results.

There are many stories in reform institutions about the children who did not find a place to protect them other than the prison, and about other children who wish the prison as substitute for misery life with their families. It is important and necessary to amend the laws to reach a formula to protect the children. The reservations to the Convention should be removed as a first step for community action at least.
This is the beginning, but we will give details telling the story of children and the reality of Syrian child, from the child who grow in separated families to street children and deprived of families.

By Rahada Abdoush, 27/2/2009, (Centers for abused Children care, projects in shadow: When the Juvenile law gets out to public?! )
Translated by: Angela Shoufi

available in Arabic..