Meeting the President of the National Council for Humans Rights in Syria

We had the incredible opportunity to speak with Kutaiba- Kasem Alarab, the president of the National Council for Human Rights in Syria, an independent non governmental body founded in 2005. This organization strives to promote and ensure human rights in Syria. They work in the field of local, economic, and political human rights. Their organization believes in the principles of the international human rights charter.  They denounce nationally and internationally human rights violations and work to provide lawyers for political prisoners and demand justice and fair trials.

Syria has gone through exceptional conditions. The country has suffered through the burgeoning of terrorism, most of which was pushed by terrorist organizations from neighboring counties. The division of the Syrian people created different factions each with differing conflicting political goals. The Syrian human rights council professes independence from any of these factions and are concerned with innocent human lives being lost due to violence and the increasing human rights violations. They denounce the killings and arrest of thousands and the refugee status of 2.5 million men women and children between Jordan Turkey and Lebanon.
As a rule members of the Syrian Human Rights Council refuse materialistic things to protect independence of the members and to avoid influences from outside interested parties. However they are willing to cooperate with other independent NGO’s. They profess a need for people outside of Syria to educate themselves and understand the situation and spread the facts.
Kutaiba has termed the terrorist activity in Syria an ‘industry’ one which is sustainable and proactive, manipulated by those always searching for power. This industry has migrated from Iraq and Iran to other areas when the international community discovered profit in Iran/Iraq/etc. This industry provides ‘death manufacturing’ in the pursuit of power. Kutaiba is deeply hurt and disappointed by the violence and political turmoil in Syria because he claims that this is not their culture. This violence has been the result of different intrusions.
Mr Kutaiba has an ambitious plan of solution to the Syrian conflict claiming it would only take 2 years to implement following a ceasefire. This solution has been proposed to the Syrian government and has been considered. The problem is that it relies on everyone – including the international community. They need all government and faction leaders to agree to a win-win-win solution for everyone with an interest in Syria. The study that underwent the forming of the proposed solution involved 19 political parties and other international NGO’s. The main components of the proposed solution includes most importantly a  cease fire on both sides. It then suggests that parliamentary candidates should be anyone with the support of 100,000 people. Mr Kutaiba claims that some individuals already have enough support, they just need a cease fire to occur. He then says Refugees (over 2.5 million) should also be allowed to vote even though they’re outside Syria. They also want to keep the current  president as ousting him will most likely lead to even worse power struggles, but in order to keep him they propose to reform his powers as president during a time of transition.
The Second part of proposal is in response to a proposal put out by current government which said they would give the people some rights they have been fighting for but they never followed through. The National Council created a Human Rights and political solution to the conflict, with the first argument being that conflicts in Syria are directly related to terrorists. This affects national stability of neighboring areas and international security. The first step to this argument is to set up a gradual transition for the building of a civil democratic society based on balance and working to fight terrorism . They cannot separate national security from fighting terrorism. The second step is to educate the people to prevent violence. He wants everyone to go back to the tradition of non-violence.
Mr Kutaiba wants foreign contribution to this issue as it is not only a regional issue but also an international issue. He wants neighboring countries to stop the illegal passing of arms to terrorists and diplomatic solutions rather than facing more violence. Previous international intervention have been viewed as failures because it supported opposition with arms and more often than not caused the opposition to conduct substantially worse crimes than the dictator
The proposal has been sent to national and international NGOs (including the UN). Others who are part of the organization work inside Syria to explain to the people their proposal. It has been published in newspapers which are government owned so the fact that they were even able to have their work published is a huge step.
Political inertia will leave Syria open for terrorists to do what they want.  Proposals about the current political situation is just a small step to start thinking about change.

-Daniella Zelaya

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