The Organisation for Democracy and Freedom in Syria

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Key Issues

Democracy and Freedom

ODFS promotes democracy and freedom in Syria through peaceful means. Syria's authoritarian and controlling regime has oppressed people, denied freedom of expression and association, violated human rights, and mismanaged the economy. Tyranny, corruption and poverty are widespread. There is no rule of law. The regime uses the pretext of the state of emergency to suppress democracy and freedom. Human rights and democracy activists are often harassed, persecuted, arrested and imprisoned without due process. There is no equality of opportunity and no social justice.

Of course things are not going to change over night but the process of change and political reform must start immediately. It must be peaceful and transitional through engagement and dialogue with all groups who believe in democracy. Strong and properly functioning political parties, which are independent of the regime, must be allowed to exist and flourish in Syria. This is critical to developing an effective pluralist democracy. All political parties should be able to take part in free and fair elections.

Developing civil society in Syria is vital for its citizens to be genuinely engaged and empowered to participate in political processes. Therefore democratic political institutions must be strenghtened and accessible to voters. Only then will ordinary Syrians be able influence social, economic, and cultural policy, and make informed choices at the ballot box.

Syria needs a new democratic constitution, which guarantees the separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and which protects the rights of individuals, groups and minorities regardless of religion, ethnic group or sex. The rights that citizens enjoy would reflect the duties they owe. In a new pluralist secular Syria, citizens would have full rights under the rule of law.

In a democracy there would be an end to government control over civil society, unions, commerce and industry. The government and its ministers would be held to account through democratic checks and balances. Corruption in state institutions would be tackled through democratic accountabilty. A democratic Syria will help achieve peace, stablity and security in Syria and the Middle East.