Sunday, July 21, 2002

Syria's human rights society opens for membership

Arabic News - 7/20/2002

The Human rights society in Syria has held the first meeting of its general commission, following its foundation. Its president Haitham al-Maleh was reelected. The society's board was also elected in the presence of a representative for the security and under the absence of a representative of the ministry of Labor and social affairs as well as the press.

The main result of the meeting is a call to open the door for membership to the society since there are 30 applications pending for the society to decide upon.

In a statement, the society said "the general commission of the human rights society in Syria held its meeting. It discussed the report submitted by the board's council and approved it after recommendations and proposals were approved. By the end of the meeting the society elected its board." The statement mentioned names of the board members adding that "The board has met and elected Haitham al-Maleh as its chairman, (he was the only candidate), Salim Khei Beyck as a deputy chairman, Nuhad Nahhas as a secretary and Mrs. Rzan Zeitounah and Fund's secretary."

The society circulated its annual report which said that several incidents have had negative impact on the performance of the society especially "the explosions of September 11th and its consequences on the whole world conditions especially human rights " and " the setback in the small democratic movement after President Bashar al-Assad assumed his post of office and the taking oath ceremony and the promises mentioned in it. Forums used to be open at that time were closed. several activists of the forums and the civil society committees were arrested. Even three were arrested from our own society. Besides the suspicious attitude we receive from the authority and the bad financial conditions of the society."

The report spoke about the peculiar situation they are in regarding the licensing status of the society with the ministry of social affairs and labor. The report said "The society started following up due licensing measures through the ministry of social affairs and Labor. In this regard, the chairman of the society and his deputy visited the minister of social affairs ( Mrs. Ghada al-Jabi) to discuss the issue of licensing. Despite the good welcome by the minister, however the answer came negative and two days after the legally required answer date -- 62 days after applying; a matter which makes our society legal according to the law. We have sent an appeal to the minister to this effect. And the answer was negative for the second time. This made it imperative for us to follow up our measures through the administrative judiciary."


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