26 February 2015
At the 19th meeting of the General Assembly of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, 13 basic principles for peace and a political settlement were approved. The full text of these principles is available below.
National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces
2015 Statement of Basic Principles for a Political Settlement in Syria
February 15, 2015
Negotiations for a political settlement shall be resumed under the auspices of the United Nations, on the basis of what has been agreed to at the Geneva II Conference (January – February 2014) and based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, particularly resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), and 2059 (2012) and resolution 2118 (2013), and the implementation of the Final Communiqué of the Action Group for Syria on June 30, 2012, known as the “Geneva Communiqué.”
The fundamental goal of the negotiations shall be the implementation of the “Geneva Communiqué” (June 30, 2012), with all of its provisions in accordance with Articles 16 and 17 of Security Council resolution 2118, passed unanimously in 2013, beginning with the establishment of a “transitional governing body” with authority to exercise full executive powers, including the powers of the President, the ministries, and the bodies and institutions of the state, including the army and the armed forces, intelligence agencies and all branches of the security services and police.
The purposes of the political process are: to change, fully and comprehensively, the current political regime, including the head of the regime, its lead figures, and its security mechanisms; and the establishment of a civil and democratic system based on peaceful transfer of power, political pluralism, and the guarantee of the rights and responsibilities of all Syrians on the basis of equal citizenship.
Achieving the objectives of the negotiations successfully requires: the commitment of regional and international parties; the commitment of both sides of the negotiations to abide by the legal obligations in accordance with international law and Security Council resolutions; the full implementation of all legal obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to alleviate the suffering of all Syrian civilians without any discrimination; and alleviating the onerous humanitarian situation on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), and 2191 (2014).
The immediate cessation of all killings, bombings, targeting of civilians, detention, torture, and forced migration constitute an essential condition to beginning negotiations. Before negotiations we must also assess compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Security Council resolutions on Syria, including a cease-fire, the release of detainees and abductees, lifting of the siege on civilians, facilitating the delivery of aid, the return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes, and the respect of public freedoms.
The agreement for a political settlement, as an outcome of negotiations conducted under the auspices of the United Nations, shall include a “Declaration of an Interim Constitution" which shall be the foundation for the process of implementing all matters relating to the transitional phase, steps, and stages, including the work of the transitional governing body, the conference for national consensus, and the Constituent Assembly.
The transitional governing body shall be the only legal, legitimate representative of the sovereign Syrian state over its entire territory, according to the agreement for a political settlement, and shall be responsible for:
- Maintaining the sovereignty of the Syrian state, its independence, and its complete territorial integrity, and taking the necessary actions and decisions that lead to the immediate withdrawal of all foreign militias, foreign military, foreign agencies and organizations, and foreign fighters from Syria.
- The right to represent the Syrian state in international forums, conducting foreign affairs and relations with other states and regional and international organizations, and adherence to international conventions signed by the Syrian government, and shall be authorized to do so exclusively.
- Creating a neutral environment and standards of independent measures for a specified period of time (to be agreed upon) to enable the launch of the political transition process in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity. This shall be the initial main task of the transitional governing body in accordance with articles 16 and 17 of the Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) and its second addendum.
- Stopping all forms of violence, withdrawing all military forces, armed groups, and their instrumentalities from populated areas; developing a plan to integrate revolutionary military forces into the army, the police, and security sector after the restructuring of both military and security institutions according to new rules; or integrating them into the civil and public service sectors by which the transitional governing body implements, supervises, and guides the cessation of violence in all its forms; and taking the necessary steps to protect civilians and achieve security and stability, in the presence of United Nations observers.
- Ensuring the continuity of the work carried out by the ministries, institutions, and public service committees, while re-evaluating their role and structure; reforming the organizational structure and defining their functions; reviewing staffing and work systems, in accordance with professional standards, the rule of law, and human rights standards.
- The adoption of a comprehensive reconstruction plan; facilitating the return of displaced persons and refugees to their areas, while ensuring access to humanitarian and medical assistance to all areas, securing treatment for the wounded, and working to create an international fund for this purpose through a donors' conference.
- Immediate release of all prisoners detained for reasons connected to the revolution, political prisoners, prisoners from the non-violence movement and activists; revealing the fate of the missing and abducted; considering all penal provisions, civil judgments, and terrorist courts judgments, based on charges for participating in the revolution and political work as of March 15, 2011, null and void and without any legal consequence. Compensation will be issued for those who were harmed.
- A general amnesty for all political prisoners and detainees from before the revolution. All charges against them on bases of political activity as of March 15, 2011 shall be considered null and void, without any legal consequences. Compensation will be issued for those who were harmed.
- Abolition of all laws or legislative decrees issued after the 1963 coup if it contradicts the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Civil and Political and on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, including Law 49 of 1980 and article 16 of Legislative Decree No. 14 of 1969.
- Reviewing the conditions of prisons, detention centers, and detention facilities in accordance with international human rights standards, providing a clear account of their location, and allowing access to international monitoring organizations.
- Creating measures for interrogation and accountability of officials and perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of human rights, in order to achieve justice and promote the transition towards peace and stability.
- The formation of a Reconciliation Commission which shall be responsible for: consolidating the principles of transitional justice, resolving disputes arising from the crisis, consolidating civil peace, avoiding conflicts that lead to the outbreak of violence, and providing international support for such through United Nations organizations.
The transitional governing body shall take action and determine the requirements for holding a conference on national consensus involving all Syrian society components of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, and others, and also representatives of political, revolutionary, civil forces, and independent figures, in order to develop principles on which the new constitution will be based.
The transitional governing body will organize elections with international monitoring, according to the electoral system adopted in the agreement for a political settlement, so as to choose the members of the "Constituent Assembly" which shall be in charge of preparing the new constitution for Syria.
The transitional governing body shall call for a referendum on the new constitution, conducted with United Nations monitors.
The transitional governing body shall supervise the elections in accordance with the agreement for a political settlement, to be free, fair, and pluralistic as stipulated in the approved constitution, and under the supervision of the Constituent Assembly, the United Nations, and international and civil society organizations.
The transitional governing body shall commit, in accordance with the agreement for a political settlement, to these provisions and the following actions:
- Taking effective steps to ensure the participation of all components of the Syrian people in the transitional process, working to build trust and mutual respect, and promoting consensus among political and social forces in line with the unity and stability of the Syrian state.
- The adoption of an integrated strategy to end the violence, combat terrorism, and protect society from slipping into sectarian and ethnic conflicts.
- Guaranteeing the freedom of expression; the right to form associations, civil society organizations, and political parties; freedom of assembly; the right to peaceful protest and demonstrations; and freedom of the media the flow of information.
- Ensuring equal citizenship rights for all Syrians, without any discrimination, and the full and complete participation of Syrian women with all rights and responsibilities.
- The transitional governing body shall work in coordination with the Security Council and the United Nations to achieve compliance with its decisions and secure the necessary Arab, regional, and international support.
- The transitional governing body shall develop impartial and independent standards approved by the Security Council to ensure the implementation of the agreement for a political settlement, and the full implementation of Articles 16 and 17 of UN Security Council resolution 2118 (2013).
- In the event of non-compliance to the agreement, measures under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations shall be invoked as stipulated in Article 21 of the UN Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013).
- The transitional governing body shall be dissolved immediately upon the election and seating of an executive body with constitutional powers.
- The Constituent Assembly shall be dissolved upon an elected parliament holding its first session under the constitution.
National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces
February 15, 2015