UN: Committee drafting new Syria constitution meets Aug. 24
The U.N. special envoy for Syria announced Wednesday that the 45member committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the conflicttorn country will meet for the first time in nine months on Aug. 24.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: August 19, 2020, 4:43 PM IST
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UNITED NATIONS The U.N. special envoy for Syria announced Wednesday that the 45-member committee charged with drafting a new constitution for the conflict-torn country will meet for the first time in nine months on Aug. 24.
Geir Pedersen told the Security Council that convening the U.N.-facilitated, Syrian-led meeting in Geneva has been challenging, because of disagreement on an agenda until March and then because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He encouraged committee representatives from the government, opposition, and civil society to come to Geneva ready to engage in earnest and move the process forward in a business-like manner, in a series of regular meetings in the months ahead.
This is important because millions of Syrians continue to face immense suffering and do not have the luxury of time to await the political breakthroughs, Pedersen said.
There is widespread frustration at the lack of progress, he said, and civil society representatives often stress that a single meeting of the constitutional committee will not bring immediate changes on the ground, but substantial and serious engagement by all parties would give them hope that a meaningful process is on the horizon that could have a longstanding and positive impact on the lives of the Syrian people.”
The start to drafting of a new constitution has been delayed for over 2 years.
At a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in January 2018, an agreement was reached to form a 150-member committee to draft a new constitution. This was a key step toward elections and a political settlement to the Syrian conflict, which began in 2011 and has killed over 400,000 people.
There was an early agreement on 50-member lists from the Syrian government and the opposition. But it took nearly 20 months until September 2019 to agree on the list the United Nations was authorized to put together representing experts, independents, tribal leaders and women, mainly because of objections from the Syrian government.
The 150-member committee agreed on the 45-member drafting committee with 15 members from each list in late October 2019.
Resolution 2254 adopted by the Security Council in 2015 endorsed a road map to peace for Syria, including drafting a new constitution and U.N.-supervised elections.
Pedersen recalled that the constitutional committee is authorized to prepare and draft for popular approval a constitutional reform as the contribution to a political settlement in Syria, and the implementation of resolution 2254.
This is indeed a momentous task – to establish a foundational act, a social contract for Syrians – after a decade of conflict and amidst deep divisions and mistrust, he said.