Syria is a diverse nation composed of multiple ethnicities, cultures, religions, and religious sects. The future Syria must remain cognizant of its highly diverse communities while ensuring equal rights and representation for all communities.
The Liberal Party believes in citizenship fostering diversity. This, unlike the conventional citizenship concept, does not neglect or discourage diverse identities to build a state of citizenship. Promoting diversity does not require citizens to choose between their national, ethnic, or religious identities. The Liberal Party’s integrity-based approach creates links among different backgrounds, without marginalizing any, in a manner that enriches Syrian society. The future Syrian nation will protect and accept diverse identities while establishing a state based on the principles of active citizenship.
As a progressive political entity, the Liberal Party oversees group rights as being derived from individual rights, not vice versa. This means that an individual does not have to be a member of a particular group to have rights, and affiliation with any group is optional. Individuals’ rights shall not be limited as a result of belonging to a particular group due to their origin. Group leaders shall not impose ideas and concepts on members as a means of stripping them of their identity. Groups will not regulate individual group affiliation.
The Liberal Party suggests several modern solutions to address these key issues to enable diversity management in Syria. The following ideas are to be further explored in analyses and in-depth studies.
Everyone has the right to preserve and maintain their cultural identity. Language and cultural heritage are fundamental in interactions with public institutions, access to education, and ensuring ongoing communication across the nation. In the future Syria, we should accept other official language/s that deserve consideration.
Languages are classified in three categories: official, national, and protected, as follows:
- Official: Adopted by the Syrian Constitution; spoken in all public, legislative, executive, and judicial institutions; and written or transcribed into official records. To become official, a language must be spoken by at least 30 percent of the population.
- National: Also recognized by the Constitution and considered an official language in local areas where native speakers of the national language reside. It is used in identity documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, and other forms of official identification. The State guarantees the right of citizens to learn national languages and for those languages to be used in public media. By legislation, the State will determine other areas where national languages are spoken, as long as the language is spoken by at least 30 percent of the local population.
- Protected: A language of particular sociocultural subgroups that is endangered because of the lack of speakers. The State fosters special regulations to preserve protected languages such as Aramaic.
The Liberal Party will leverage current statistics and classifies spoken languages in Syria as follows:
- Arabic is the official language of Syria.
- Kurdish, Assyrian, and Turkic are national languages.
- Aramaic is a protected language.
Culture is a key determinant of identities. The Liberal Party strives to sustain the diverse identities present in Syria while seeking a united Syrian identity.
- Public cultural centers are to be established for local communities upon request.
- A Trust Fund, sponsored by the Syrian Government, will subsidize cultural centers for socially sustainable development.
- The role of cultural centers is to promote local languages and cultures, as well as to highlight Syria’s diversity.
Education is among the most critical elements in raising future generations to believe in the value of a diverse Syria.
- The administration of schools is subject to local laws and regulations. School systems must work within the guidelines established by the central government to ensure minimum quality standards and to ensure equal access to higher education.
- Each educational institution can decide curricula. Local authorities can create or choose their own curricula, including language/s they consider eligible.
- Hate speech and displays of national or religious superiority are banned from curricula.
- The central government provides support to local authorities as necessary to develop appropriate local curricula.
- Cultural institutes that teach different Syrian languages and cultures are encouraged.
IV. Religious Affairs
The Liberal Party calls for neutrality on the part of the state when it comes to religious affiliation, and for protection of all individuals to practice the religion or beliefs they choose.
- The Department of Religious Affairs is left to religious institutions established by faith-based communities.
- The state does not interfere in the affairs of any religious sect.
- The State protects freedom of religious affiliation and practices as long as they do not contradict the Constitution, the law, or the International Bill of Human Rights.
- Citizens may elect to send their children to either religious or secular schools.
- Religious institutions are self-funded. The government is not required to finance any places of worship. However, the government shall provide any and all necessary protections for places of worship.
V. Personal Status
The Liberal Party strives for a balance between human rights, non-discrimination, and personal freedoms by choosing a code of personal status laws that match citizens’ values and identity. The following principles shall apply:
- Syrian ID cards shall not divulge a citizen’s place of origin and shall be the sole personal record.
- Civil records shall not reflect citizens’ ethnic, sectarian, or cultural affiliation.
- Religious institutions can keep special records for their members.
- Faith-based communities have the right to have their code of personal status laws. However, it shall not be incompatible with the Constitution or the International Bill of Human Rights.
- A Civil Code of Personal Status law must be applied in case of marriage. Religious marriages and religious codes of personal status are adopted based on voluntary adoption.
- The Civil Code of Personal Law takes legal precedence over all religious personal laws.
- In case of disputes arising from the implementation of religion-driven personal status laws, Civil Courts shall apply religion-driven personal status laws. Otherwise, if one of the disputing parties requests the application of the Civil Code of Personal Status, then the Court shall adopt the Civil Code.
The Liberal Party aims to transition from the current centralized state to a more decentralized state in which governorates can manage their internal affairs.
- Expanded decentralization should be adopted to enable governorates or regions to manage their local affairs in coordination with the central government, except for defense, foreign affairs, and economy.
- Citizens are entitled to adjust, merge, or divide their governorates’ or regions’ jurisdiction by democratic means.
- Governance committees are elected or appointed in every governorate or region through democratic mechanisms.
- The Constitution regulates decentralized administrations for tax and judicial mandates.
- Every governorate is entitled to impose local taxes in addition to the central government's taxes.
- Every governorate or region is entitled to charge for municipal and social services and property as they consider appropriate.
- Every governorate or region has the right to apply local regulations as long as they do not conflict with the Constitution or laws of the central government.
- Every governorate or region is entitled to select its own state-level symbols (e.g., flags) and holidays to complement the state's symbols and national holidays.
VII. Political Representation
The Liberal Party embraces the concept of two Houses of Parliament to sustain balanced representation between provincial interests and the notion of political majority.
In the first House of Parliament, representatives will be elected based on proportional representation. In the second House of Parliament, representatives are elected to ensure fair and equal representation of all Syrian provinces.