Decree 49 – Dispossession of the Kurdish population?

KurdWatch presents a new study on the effects of Decree 49

Berlin, August 9, 2010-Over the past two years, Decree 49, issued on September 10, 2008, has been among the most discussed measures used by the Syrian government toward the Kurdish population. In Kurdish and pro-Kurdish circles catchwords like “dispossession” and “Arabization” are regularly used. The 12-page study analyzes the legal changes and economic consequences of the decree and answers the question to what extent Decree 49 discriminates against the Kurdish population in particular. “With the passage of Decree 49 the sale and lease of inner-city land has become subject to approval”, said Siamend Hajo, project manager for KurdWatch. “This applies to all border regions in Syria; Arab regions are also affected. Nevertheless it is problematic that the approval practices by the intelligence services especially in al-Hasakah are considerably more restrictive than in other regions.”

Above all this has profound economic consequences. The previously thriving construction and real-estate sectors in al-Hasakah, which provided the livelihood not only for architects and engineers, but also for craftsmen, construction workers, and a large number of unskilled laborers, have been damaged significantly. According to Hajo, “Decree 49 was issued at a time when the region’s most important economic sector, agriculture, was suffering massive losses due to long years of drought. With the building industry and real-estate market, further important sources of income, especially for ordinary people, have been lastingly weakened.” He assumes that the Syrian government is aware of these effects: “On the one hand, it is difficult to prove that these negative consequences of the decree were explicitly intended. At the same time it is barely conceivable that the Syrian government had any serious illusions about the approval practices to be expected from the intelligence services or that it remains to this day uninformed about the economic consequences of the decree.”

KurdWatch.org is an independent Internet portal that reports on human-rights violations against the Kurdish population in Syria.

Download report here. (.pdf, 362 KB)

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