Turkey and Germany have lodged a formal complaint with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council over the grave implications of the Assad regime’s issuance of Law No. 10.
The two countries submitted the complaint on behalf of more than 40 UN member states, including European and Arab states as well as the United States, Australia and Japan.
The complaint came in identical letters by Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Feridun Sinirlioǧlu and his German counterpart Christoph Heusgen.
The letters were addressed to Guterres and Ambassador Olof Skoog, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of July.
The 40 countries expressed deep concern about the possible implications of the new legalization which was issued on April 2. The decree will allow the Assad regime to confiscate property of millions of displaced people and refugees, which will ruin their chances of returning to their homes.
The two letters emphasized that the new law “comes within the framework of a comprehensive policy aimed at changing the sectarian, social, economic and political structure of the country and changing the social fabric of local communities.”
The Turkish and German UN representatives accused the Assad regime of “systematic destruction of property records.” They cited several incidents as evidence of this policy, including the Assad regime’s deliberate bombing of the land registry building in Homs city in 2013. Similar incidents took place in Zabadani, Darayya, and Qusayr.
The letters indicated that the incidents “were followed by the forced displacement of the population and replacing them with regime loyalists, including allied foreign militiamen.”
“Many Syrians have lost proof of ownership of property because of loss and displacement, which risks ruining the chances of millions of refugees to return to their homes.”
The letters noted Law 10 is one of around 40 other legalizations on civilian property that have been enacted since 2011.
These measures “raise serious concerns that civilians from areas previously controlled by the opposition will be stripped of their property and thus be subject to collective punishment.”
“This decree likely contravenes the principle of prohibiting discrimination on the basis of political orientation enshrined in article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a party.”
Moreover, the letter went on to say that Law 10 “clearly contradicts the UN efforts to find a political solution in Syria.”
“This move risks undermining the UN efforts as it poses a threat to any possible future reconciliation. It also represents a blatant violation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), stressing the urgent need to create conditions conducive to the safe and voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons.”
The German and Turkish UN representatives called on the international community to “oppose the implementation of this law in its original form, introduce fundamental amendments to it, protect the rights of millions of affected Syrians, and identify measures to ensure that all Syrians will be safe from its implications.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)