Syrian Kurds demonstrate before the PA, asking for constitutional, cultural rights
Syria, Politics, 12/11/2002
Some 100 Syrian Kurds gathered yesterday in front of the Syrian parliament asking for their rights, stated in a statement they were circulating on passerby at the sight of the policemen, in a first step of its kind by the second main party of the 12 Kurdish parties which is banned in Syria.
This incident is considered the second initiative to open this file following the round-table which was held by the Kurdish Progressive party since one month about the rights of the Kurds.
The observers of the sit-in who belong to the banned Kurdish Yaktini party, raised banners in Arabic and Kurdish languages calling for that "Syria to be the homeland for all its people: Arabs, Kurds and minorities" and to "lift repression from the Kurdish people and to recognize their Kurdish nationality" and the "Syrian nationality forbidden from them."
The Syrian security forces permitted two members of the political bureau of the Kurdish party, Marwan Othman and Hassan Saleh ,to enter the parliament and to meet with its speaker Abdul Qader Qaddoura who received a copy of the statement. Qaddoura was quoted as "understanding these demands," according to one of the two men. Qaddoura showed certain observations on the statement and the way the demands were raised." The gathering became disolved without any problems.
The statement which was circulated on the passersby on the occasion of the world day on human rights, called on the state to reconsider dealing with the Kurds and to deal with them like other Syrians citizens regarding rights and duties and "to eliminate discrimination against them," " lifting the sanctions from the Kurdish language and culture" and to "recognize constitutionally the existence of a Kurdish community in the context of the country's unity." The statement estimated the number of persons deprived of the Syrian nationality at one quarter million out of the 2.5 million Kurds, representing 12 percent of the population number in Syria.
However, the openness towards this issue has started just two years ago, but the Syrian official authorities have an opposite position concerning the demands raised by the statement, as these authorities consider that the Kurds as practicing their cultural activities, but they do not have the right to learn using their own language because the issue is linked to the existence of other minorities in Syria like the Assurs, the Armenians, the Sharkas and the Assyrians and others. A matter which will create disorder in the learning curricula."
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