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Syrian Arab Republic[1] [print]

Last edited: December 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

We were unable to find any statutory provisions that speak to the Syrian Arab Republic's implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) with respect to the child's right to be heard in child protective proceedings.  Additionally, we have been unable to find any laws detailing the existence and procedures of a child protective system. 

 

The Syrian Arab Republic signed the CRC in September 1990 and ratified the CRC in July 1993.[2] According to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the CRC is fully incorporated into domestic law and the civil and criminal code provisions do not apply if they are in conflict with an international convention in force.[3]

 

Two reports have been submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic to the Committee, one in 1996[4] and one in 2002,[5] neither of which gives much information about the child's right to be heard in child protective proceedings. The Committee responded with concern that child views are still not systematically heard in judicial proceedings.[6] Furthermore, under Article 146 of the Personal Status Act, custody determinations in the Syrian Arab Republic are determined based on age; the boy stays with the mother until the age of 9 and the girl until the age of 11 at which point custody is given over to the father,[7] so at least in terms of general custody decisions, the views of the child are almost certainly not taken into account. However, the 2002 report alluded to potential legislation that may amend the custody determinations to say that at the age of 15, the child may choose which parent they wish to reside with. [8]

 

Syria does seem to have some laws in place to deal with removing neglected children from their homes. A child cannot be separated from his family unless there is a mutual agreement that the child should be removed and placed with another family or social welfare institution.[9] A judge can, however, transfer custody or guardianship taking into account the best interests of the child.[10] Furthermore, if the child is neglected to the extent that he becomes delinquent and commits crimes, he can be removed from his family and placed in the care of a separate body.[11]

 

There also seem to be criminal sanctions for child neglect.[12]  Additionally, a note was made that: “The governmental authorities and non-governmental organizations are taking appropriate legislative and administrative measures to protect children, with emphasis on the need to protect them from violence, negligence and ill-treatment even if they are in the care of their legitimate parents.”[13]  The Committee's response was concerned about the lack of sufficient measures to gather data about child abuse, the lack of programs to protect abused children, and the lack of information provided about child abuse, and urged the establishment of a complaint mechanism for victims of child abuse.[14]

 

Despite our best efforts, we were unable to locate much of the law on the Syrian Arab Republic or a contact person in the country.

 

Related Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Constitution

 

Constitution[15]

 

Article 44 - Family, Marriage, Children

(1) The family is the basic unit of socity and is protected by the state.
(2) The state protects and encourages marriage and eliminates the material and social obstacles hindering it. The state protects mothers and infants and exteds care to adolescents and youths and provides them with the suitable circumstances to develop their faculties.

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of Child[16]

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Ratifications and Reservations, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/english/countries/ratification/11.htm.

[3] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Syrian Arab Republic, 14th Sess., 360-362nd mtg. ¶ 3, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.70 (Jan. 24, 1997), available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/a1b7ed21025767758025644b003e07ec?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[4] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of States parties due in 1995: Syrian Arab Republic, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/28/Add.2 (Feb. 14, 1996), available http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/d554747d746135efc125635d0052a760?Opendocument, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Second periodic reports of States parties due in 2002: Syrian Arab Republic, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/93/Add.2 (Oct. 18, 2002), available  http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/f493443b011f9d05c1256c8c0056b06f?Opendocument, and also as .pdf Document.

[6] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Syrian Arab Republic, 33rd Sess., 889th mtg. ¶ 30, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.212 (July 10, 2003), available  http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/4bd0895f88708624c1256da60053ad50?Opendocument, and also as .pdf Document.

[7] Initial Report: Syrian Arab Republic, supra note 3, at ¶ 112.

[8] Second Report: Syrian Arab Republic, supra note 4, at ¶ 78(b).

[9] Initial Report: Syrian Arab Republic, supra note 3, at ¶ 114.

[10] Id.

[11] Id. at ¶ 116.

[12] Id. at ¶ 130-131.

[13] Id. at ¶ 136.

[14] Concluding Observations, supra note 2, at ¶ 10, 14, 17, 28.

[15] Const. of the Syrian Arab Republic (1973), ¶ 44, available http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/sy00000_.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.  

[16] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), entered into force Sept. 2, 1990, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm. Unsure of the order of authority of the CRC relative to the Constitution. 

 

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