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Constitution of Syria (2012)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

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3Preamble

4Arab civilization, which is part of human heritage, has faced through its long history great challenges aimed at breaking its will and subjecting it to colonial domination, but it has always rose through its own creative abilities to exercise its role in building human civilization.

5The Syrian Arab Republic is proud of its Arab identity and the fact that its people are an integral part of the Arab nation. The Syrian Arab Republic embodies this belonging in its national and pan-Arab project and the work to support Arab cooperation in order to promote integration and achieve the unity of the Arab nation.

6The Syrian Arab Republic considers international peace and security a key objective and a strategic choice, and it works on achieving both of them under the International Law and the values of right and justice.

7The Syrian Arab role has increased on the regional and international levels over the past decades, which has led to achieving human and national aspirations and achievements in all fields and domains. Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth. The long struggle and sacrifices of our people for the sake of its independence, progress and national unity has paved the way for building the strong state and promoting cohesion between the people and their Syrian Arab army which is the main guarantor and protector of the homeland’s sovereignty, security, stability and territorial integrity; thus, forming the solid foundation of the people’s struggle for liberating all occupied territories.

8The Syrian society with all its components and constituents and through its popular, political and civil institutions and organizations, has managed to accomplish achievements that demonstrated the depth of civilizational accumulation represented by the Syrian society, its unwavering will and its ability to keep pace with the changes and to create the appropriate environment to maintain its human role as a historical and effective power in the march of human civilization.

9Since the beginning of the 21st century, Syria, both as people and institutions had faced the challenge of development and modernization during tough regional and international circumstances which targeted its national sovereignty. This has formed the incentive to accomplish this Constitution as the basis for strengthening the rule of law.

10The completion of this Constitution is the culmination of the people’s struggle on the road to freedom and democracy. It is a real embodiment of achievements, a response to shifts and changes, an evidence of organizing the march of the state towards the future, a regulator of the movement of its institutions and a source of legislation. All of this is attainable through a system of fundamental principles that enshrines independence, sovereignty and the rule of the people based on election, political and party pluralism and the protection of national unity, cultural diversity, public freedoms, human rights, social justice, equality, equal opportunities, citizenship and the rule of law, where the society and the citizen are the objective and purpose for which every national effort is dedicated. Preserving the dignity of the society and the citizen is an indicator of the civilization of the country and the prestige of the state.

11Title I. Basic Principles

12Chapter I. Political Principles

13Article 1

14The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic state with full sovereignty, indivisible, and may not waive any part of its territory, and is part of the Arab homeland; The people of Syria are part of the Arab nation.

15Article 2

16The system of governance in the state shall be a republican system; Sovereignty is an attribute of the people; and no individual or group may claim sovereignty. Sovereignty shall be based on the principle of the rule of the people by the people and for the people; The People shall exercise their sovereignty within the aspects and limits prescribed in the Constitution.

17Article 3

18The religion of the President of the Republic is Islam; Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation; The State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order; The personal status of religious communities shall be protected and respected.

19Article 4

20The official language of the state is Arabic.

21Article 5

22The capital of the state is Damascus.

23Article 6

24The flag of the Syrian Arab Republic consists of three colors: red, white and black, in addition to two stars, each with five heads of green color. The flag is rectangular in shape; its width equals two thirds of its length and consists of three rectangles evenly spaced along the flag, the highest in red, the middle in white and lowest in black, and the two stars are in the middle of the white rectangle; The law identifies the state’s emblem, its national anthem and the respective provisions.

25Article 7

26The constitutional oath shall be as follows: “I swear by the Almighty God to respect the country’s constitution, laws and Republican system, to look after the interests and freedoms of the people, to safeguard the homeland’s sovereignty, independence, freedom and to defend its territorial integrity and to act in order to achieve social justice and the unity of the Arab Nation”.

27Article 8

281. The political system of the state shall be based on the principle of political pluralism, and exercising power democratically through the ballot box;

292. Licensed political parties and constituencies shall contribute to the national political life, and shall respect the principles of national sovereignty and democracy;

303. The law shall regulate the provisions and procedures related to the formation of political parties;

314. Carrying out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color may not be undertaken;

325. Public office or public money may not be exploited for a political, electoral or party interest.

33Article 9

34As a national heritage that promotes national unity in the framework of territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Constitution shall guarantee the protection of cultural diversity of the Syrian society with all its components and the multiplicity of its tributaries.

35Article 10

36Public organizations, professional unions and associations shall be bodies that group citizens in order to develop society and attain the interests of its members. The State shall guarantee the independence of these bodies and the right to exercise public control and participation in various sectors and councils defined in laws; in areas which achieve their objectives, and in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.

37Article 11

38The army and the armed forces shall be a national institution responsible for defending the security of the homeland and its territorial integrity. This institution shall be in the service of the people’s interests and the protection of its objectives and national security.

39Article 12

40Democratically elected councils at the national or local level shall be institutions through which citizens exercise their role in sovereignty, state-building and leading society.

41Chapter II. Economic Principles

42Article 13

431. The national economy shall be based on the principle of developing public and private economic activity through economic and social plans aiming at increasing the national income, developing production, raising the individual’s living standards and creating jobs;

442. Economic policy of the state shall aim at meeting the basic needs of individuals and society through the achievement of economic growth and social justice in order to reach comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development;

453. The State shall guarantee the protection of producers and consumers, foster trade and investment, prevent monopoly in various economic fields and work on developing human resources and protecting the labor force in a way that serves the national economy.

46Article 14

47Natural resources, facilities, institutions and public utilities shall be publicly owned, and the state shall invest and oversee their management for the benefit of all people, and the citizens’ duty is to protect them.

48Article 15

49Collective and individual private ownership shall be protected in accordance with the following basis:

50 1.General confiscation of funds shall be prohibited;

51 a.Private ownership shall not be removed except in the public interest by a decree and against fair compensation according to the law;

52 b.Confiscation of private property shall not be imposed without a final court ruling;

53 c.Private property may be confiscated for necessities of war and disasters by a law and against fair compensation;

54 2.Compensation shall be equivalent to the real value of the property.

55Article 16

56The law shall determine the maximum level of agricultural ownership and agricultural investment to ensure the protection of the farmer and the agricultural laborer from exploitation and to ensure increased production.

57Article 17

58The right of inheritance shall be maintained in accordance with the law.

59Article 18

601. Taxes, fees and overhead costs shall not be imposed except by a law;

612. The tax system shall be based on a fair basis; and taxes shall be progressive in a way that achieves the principles of equality and social justice.

62Chapter III. Social Principles

63Article 19

64Society in the Syrian Arab Republic shall be based on the basis of solidarity, symbiosis and respect for the principles of social justice, freedom, equality and maintenance of human dignity of every individual.

65Article 20

661. The family shall be the nucleus of society and the law shall maintain its existence and strengthen its ties;

672. The state shall protect and encourage marriage, and shall work on removing material and social obstacles that hinder it. The state shall also protect maternity and childhood, take care of young children and youth and provide the suitable conditions for the development of their talents.

68Article 21

69Martyrdom for the sake of the homeland shall be a supreme value, and the State shall guarantee the families of the martyrs in accordance with the law.

70Article 22

711. The state shall guarantee every citizen and his family in cases of emergency, sickness, disability, orphan-hood and old age;

722. The state shall protect the health of citizens and provide them with the means of prevention, treatment and medication.

73Article 23

74The state shall provide women with all opportunities enabling them to effectively and fully contribute to the political, economic, social and cultural life, and the state shall work on removing the restrictions that prevent their development and participation in building society.

75Article 24

76The state shall shoulder, in solidarity with the community, the burdens resulting from natural disasters.

77Article 25

78Education, health and social services shall be the basic pillars for building society, and the state shall work on achieving balanced development among all regions of the Syrian Arab Republic.

79Article 26

801. Public service shall be a responsibility and an honor the purpose of which is to achieve public interest and to serve the people;

812. Citizens shall be equal in assuming the functions of public service, and the law shall determine the conditions of assuming such functions and the rights and duties assigned to them.

82Article 27

83Protection of the environment shall be the responsibility of the state and society and it shall be the duty of every citizen.

84Chapter IV. Educational and Cultural Principles

85Article 28

86The educational system shall be based on creating a generation committed to its identity, heritage, belonging and national unity.

87Article 29

881. Education shall be a right guaranteed by the state, and it is free at all levels. The law shall regulate the cases where education could not be free at universities and government institutes;

892. Education shall be compulsory until the end of basic education stage, and the state shall work on extending compulsory education to other stages;

903. The state shall oversee education and direct it in a way that achieves the link between it and the needs of society and the requirements of development;

914. The law shall regulate the state’s supervision of private educational institutions.

92Article 30

93Physical education shall be an essential pillar in building society; and the state shall encourage it to prepare a generation which is physically, morally and intellectually fit.

94Article 31

95The state shall support scientific research and all its requirements, ensure the freedom of scientific, literary, artistic and cultural creativity and provide the necessary means for that end. The state shall provide any assistance for the progress of sciences and arts, and shall encourage scientific and technical inventions, creative skills and talents and protect their results.

96Article 32

97The state shall protect antiquities, archaeological and heritage sites and objects of artistic, historical and cultural value.

98Title II. Rights, Freedoms and the Rule of Law

99Chapter I. Rights and Freedoms

100Article 33

1011. Freedom shall be a sacred right and the state shall guarantee the personal freedom of citizens and preserve their dignity and security;

1022. Citizenship shall be a fundamental principle which involves rights and duties enjoyed by every citizen and exercised according to law;

1033. Citizens shall be equal in rights and duties without discrimination among them on grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or creed;

1044. The state shall guarantee the principle of equal opportunities among citizens.

105Article 34

106Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural life and the law shall regulate this.

107Article 35

108Every citizen shall be subjected to the duty of respecting the Constitution and laws.

109Article 36

1101. The inviolability of private life shall be protected by the law;

1112. Houses shall not be entered or inspected except by an order of the competent judicial authority in the cases prescribed by law.

112Article 37

113Confidentiality of postal correspondence, telecommunications and radio and other communication shall be guaranteed in accordance with the law.

114Article 38

1151. No citizen may be deported from the country, or prevented from returning to it;

1162. No citizen may be extradited to any foreign entity;

1173. Every citizen shall have the right to move in or leave the territory of the state, unless prevented by a decision from the competent court or the public prosecution office or in accordance with the laws of public health and safety.

118Article 39

119Political refugees shall not be extradited because of their political beliefs or for their defense of freedom.

120Article 40

1211. Work shall be a right and a duty for every citizen, and the state shall endeavor to provide for all citizens, and the law shall organize work, its conditions and the workers’ rights;

1222. Each worker shall have a fair wage according to the quality and output of the work; this wage shall be no less than the minimum wage that ensures the requirements of living and changes in living conditions;

1233. The state shall guarantee social and health security of workers.

124Article 41

125Payment of taxes, fees and public costs shall be a duty in accordance with the law.

126Article 42

1271. Freedom of belief shall be protected in accordance with the law;

1282. Every citizen shall have the right to freely and openly express his views whether in writing or orally or by all other means of expression.

129Article 43

130The state shall guarantee freedom of the press, printing and publishing, the media and its independence in accordance with the law.

131Article 44

132Citizens shall have the right to assemble, peacefully demonstrate and to strike from work within the framework of the Constitution principles, and the law shall regulate the exercise of these rights.

133Article 45

134Freedom of forming associations and unions shall be based on a national basis, for lawful purposes and by peaceful means which are guaranteed in accordance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law.

135Article 46

1361. Compulsory military service shall be a sacred duty and is regulated by a law;

1372. Defending the territorial integrity of the homeland and maintaining the secrets of state shall be a duty of every citizen.

138Article 47

139The state shall guarantee the protection of national unity, and the citizens’ duty is to maintain it.

140Article 48

141The law shall regulate the Syrian Arab citizenship.

142Article 49

143Election and referendum are the right and duty of the citizens and the law shall regulate their exercise.

144Chapter II. The Rule of Law

145Article 50

146The rule of law shall be the basis of governance in the state.

147Article 51

1481. Punishment shall be personal; no crime and no punishment except by a law;

1492. Every defendant shall be presumed innocent until convicted by a final court ruling in a fair trial;

1503. The right to conduct litigation and remedies, review, and the defense before the judiciary shall be protected by the law, and the state shall guarantee legal aid to those who are incapable to do so, in accordance with the law;

1514. Any provision of the law shall prohibit the immunity of any act or administrative decision from judicial review.

152Article 52

153Provisions of the laws shall only apply to the date of its commencement and shall not have a retroactive effect, and it may apply otherwise in matters other than criminal.

154Article 53

1551. No one may be investigated or arrested, except under an order or decision issued by the competent judicial authority, or if he was arrested in the case of being caught in the act, or with intent to bring him to the judicial authorities on charges of committing a felony or misdemeanor;

1562. No one may be tortured or treated in a humiliating manner, and the law shall define the punishment for those who do so;

1573. Any person who is arrested must be informed of the reasons for his arrest and his rights, and may not be incarcerated in front of the administrative authority except by an order of the competent judicial authority;

1584. Every person sentenced by a final ruling, carried out his sentence and the ruling proved wrong shall have the right to ask the state for compensation for the damage he suffered.

159Article 54

160Any assault on individual freedom, on the inviolability of private life or any other rights and public freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution shall be considered a punishable crime by the law.

161Title III. State Authorities

162Chapter I. Legislative Authority

163Article 55

164The legislative authority of the state shall be assumed by the People’s Assembly in accordance with the manner prescribed in the Constitution.

165Article 56

166The People’s Assembly term shall be for four calendar years from the date of its first meeting and it may not be extended except in case of war by a law.

167Article 57

168Members of the People’s Assembly shall be elected by the public, secret, direct and equal vote in accordance with the provisions of the Election Law.

169Article 58

170A member of the People’s Assembly shall represent the whole people, and his/her commission may not be defined by a restriction or condition, and shall exercise duties under the guidance of his/hers honor and conscience.

171Article 59

172Voters shall be the citizens who have completed eighteen years of age and met the conditions stipulated in the Election Law.

173Article 60

1741. The system of electing members of the People’s Assembly, their number and the conditions to be met by the candidates shall be determined by a law;

1752. Half of the members of the People’s Assembly at least shall be of the workers and farmers, and the law shall state the definition of the worker and the farmer.

176Article 61

177The Election Law shall include the provisions that ensure:

178 1.The freedom of voters to choose their representatives and the safety and integrity of the electoral procedures;

179 2.The right of candidates to supervise the electoral process;

180 3.Punishing those who abuse the will of the voters;

181 4.Identifying the regulations of financing election campaigns;

182 5.Organizing the election campaign and the use of media outlets.

183Article 62

1841. Elections shall be held during the sixty days preceding the expiry date of the mandate of the People’s Assembly term;

1852. The People’s Assembly shall continue its meetings if no other Assembly is elected and it shall remain in place until a new Assembly is elected.

186Article 63

187If the membership of a member of the People’s Assembly is vacant for some reason, an alternative shall be elected within sixty days from the date of the membership vacancy, provided that the remaining term of the Assembly is no less than six months. The membership of the new member shall end by the expiry date of the mandate of the Assembly’s term, and the Election Law shall determine the cases of vacant membership.

188Article 64

1891. The People’s Assembly shall be called to convene by a decree issued by the President of the Republic within fifteen days from the expiry date of the mandate of the existing Assembly or from the date of announcing the election results in case of not having such an Assembly. The People’s Assembly shall be definitely convened on the sixteenth day if the call-to-convene decree is not issued;

1902. The Assembly shall elect, at its first meeting, its speaker and members who shall be annually re-elected.

191Article 65

1921. The Assembly shall call for three regular sessions per year; the total of which should not be less than six months, and the Assembly’s rules of procedure shall set the time and duration of each of them;

1932. The Assembly may be invited to extraordinary sessions upon the request of the Speaker, one third of the members of the Assembly or the Assembly’s office;

1943. The last legislative session of the year shall remain open until the approval of the state budget.

195Article 66

1961. The Supreme Constitutional Court shall have jurisdiction to consider appeals related to the elections of the members of the People’s Assembly.

1972. Appeals shall be submitted by the candidate within three days from the date of announcing the results; and the court shall decide its final judgments within seven days from the expiry date of submitting appeals.

198Article 67

199Members of the People’s Assembly shall swear-in the constitutional oath mentioned in Article 7 of the Constitution.

200Article 68

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