Anfragebeantwortung zu Syrien: 1) Situation der kurdischen Bevölkerung vor und seit Beginn des Aufstands im März 2011 (staatliche Diskriminierung, gezielte Übergriffe im Krieg); 2) Situation von Angehörigen der „Maktumin“ vor und seit Beginn des Aufstands [a-8531-1]

10. Oktober 2013
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1) Situation der kurdischen Bevölkerung vor und seit Beginn des Aufstands im März 2011 (staatliche Diskriminierung, gezielte Übergriffe im Krieg)
Situation vor Beginn des Aufstands
Ein Bericht des UNO-Sonderberichterstatters über das Recht auf Nahrung, veröffentlicht vom UNO-Menschenrechtsrat (UN Human Rights Council, HRC) im Jänner 2011, beschreibt die allgemeine Lage der Kurden in Syrien wie folgt:
„The Kurds represent the largest non-Arab ethnic group, accounting for about 10 to 15 per cent of the population. Some members of the Syrian Kurdish population do not possess Syrian nationality: the ajaneb (foreigners) have Syrian red identification cards and do not possess any other nationality; others, the maktumeen (unregistered), are completely unregistered by the Government, although some carry a paper listing family details issued by the local village head (mukhtar). […]
Nationality remains an issue of concern for many stateless Kurds in the Syrian Arab Republic. […] One additional issue of concern has been access to land. State land expropriations have affected the Kurds, particularly those who lost their Syrian nationality following the 1962 census in Al Hasakah governorate. Expropriated land was redistributed to Arabs who were moved into the area as part of the Arab Belt project (1973–1976). The project, which was implemented in the Kurdish majority region of Hasakah, was aimed at creating an Arab-inhabited cordon, 10 to 15 km deep and 375 km long, along the borders shared with Turkey and Iraq. In the Belt, as in other border regions of the country, land transactions are subject to administrative control. It is reported that, in accordance with Decree No. 49 (2009) on land ownership, individuals must now seek a license from the Ministry of the Interior to register all land, whether agricultural or urban, in the applicant’s name. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that there is a high risk of discrimination against Kurds in the implementation of this law, as those denied a land license are given no explanation and have no legal recourse to challenge the decision.”(HRC, 27. Jänner 2011, S. 14-15)
[Passage aus dem Asylbericht des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes entfernt]
Ein Bericht von International Crisis Group (ICG) vom Jänner 2013 geht wie folgt auf die Situation der Kurden in Syrien vor März 2011 ein:
„Relations between the Syrian state and its Kurdish minority were fraught even before the current regime came to power in the aftermath of the 1963 Baathist takeover. In 1962, the authorities used census data from the al-Jazeera region (the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers) in the north east to strip approximately 120,000 Kurds of their Syrian citizenship, claiming they were illegal immigrants from Turkey. These stateless Kurds and their descendants today are estimated at roughly 300,000, 15 per cent of the country’s estimated two million Kurds. They exist in a legal vacuum, deprived of important rights: to travel within Syria and abroad (which requires a passport or other ID); to own property; to enter into legally recognised marriage; to benefit from food subsidies; to participate in elections; and to hold office (whether elected or as civil servants). Although some were registered as foreigners/ aliens (ajaneb), many were completely ignored. The latter category is referred to as the “unregistered” (maktumin, literally: concealed). By one estimate, Syria had some 154,000 ajaneb and 160,000 maktumin as of 2008. Linguistic rights, too, long have been denied to Syria’s Kurds. A 1958 decree outlawed the publication of materials in Kurdish, and even private schools were barred from teaching in that language. The regime replaced Kurdish names of towns and villages with Arabic ones; for example, the Kurdish town of Kobane was re-baptised Ayn al-Arab. More recently, in 2008, the government added to a long list of Kurdish grievances legislation that restricts property ownership, transfer and other land rights in border regions, in effect denying even Kurds in such areas who enjoyed citizenship the right to own real property. The Kurds’ status remained essentially unchanged under Hafez Assad’s and Bashar Assad’s rule. Despite acknowledging the problems associated with the 1962 census, Bashar failed for years to take steps toward naturalising either the ajaneb or the maktumin. As previously described by Crisis Group, Kurds also suffered from the regime’s enduring and glaring neglect of north-eastern Syria, an area particularly rich in resources but treated like a milk cow by central authorities.” (ICG, 22. Jänner 2013, S. 6-7)
[Passage aus dem Asylbericht des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes entfernt]
Das britische Außenministerium (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO) schreibt in seinem Jahresbericht für das Jahr 2010 (veröffentlicht im März 2011), dass etwa 300.000 der insgesamt 1,7 Millionen Kurden in Syrien keine Staatsbürgerschaft hätten und als „staatenlose Kurden“ bezeichnet würden. Es gebe regelmäßig Berichte über willkürliche Verhaftungen von Angehörigen der kurdischen Minderheit, über Verletzungen ihrer Eigentumsrechte und über Todesfälle von Kurden beim Militärdienst. Das Unterrichten der kurdischen Sprache sei verboten und kurdische Feste wie das Nowruz-Fest im März 2011 würden von Sicherheitsbehörden gestört (FCO, 31. März 2011).
Das US Department of State (USDOS) geht in seinem im April 2011 veröffentlichten Länderbericht zur Menschenrechtslage im Jahr 2010 wie folgt auf die Lage der kurdischen Minderheit ein:
„The government generally permitted national and ethnic minorities to conduct traditional, religious, and cultural activities but the government's actions toward the Kurdish minority remained a significant exception. Security services arrested hundreds of Kurdish citizens during the year, and the SSSC prosecuted them, in some cases on charges of seeking to annex part of Syria to another country. […] For example, on March 21, security forces fired on a crowd of Kurds in Raqqah, a town in the northeast, during their annual Nowruz celebrations. […] Kurdish human rights groups stated that two people were killed during the demonstrations, although only one death, that of Muhammad Omar Haydar, was confirmed by observers and human rights activists. Security forces arrested dozens of Kurds during and after the festival. At year's end no formal investigations had been undertaken. Nowruz festivals have had a history of being interrupted, sometimes violently, throughout the country. […] A Kurdish-run human rights watchdog,, estimated that as of October 11, there had been 59 arrests and 38 convictions of Kurds. In addition, the Web site recounted that 26 of the 38 convictions were for having connections to a political party. […] Many human rights observers believed that the government deliberately attempted to stop any public display of ‘Kurdishness.’ Although the government contended there was no discrimination against the Kurdish population, it placed limits on the use and teaching of the Kurdish language. It also restricted the publication of books and other materials in Kurdish, Kurdish cultural expression, and at times the celebration of Kurdish festivals. After beginning in 2009, authorities continued enforcement of an old ruling requiring that at least 60 percent of the words on signs in shops and restaurants be in Arabic. Officials reportedly sent patrols into commercial districts to threaten shop owners with closure if they refused to change the names of their stores into Arabic. Minority groups – especially Kurds, whom the government appeared to target specifically- regarded the step as a further attempt to undermine their cultural identity.” (USDOS, 8. April 2011, section 6)
Situation seit Beginn des Aufstands
Der Bericht von International Crisis Group (ICG) vom Jänner 2013 geht wie folgt auf die Lage der Kurden seit März 2011 ein:
„When the 2011 uprising broke out, Syrian Kurds initially were of two minds about whether to join. Although they had little sympathy for the regime, memories of the brutal 2004 government crackdown in Qamishli and of the callous reactions it prompted among Syria’s non-Kurds – long suspicious of Kurdish secessionist sentiment – remained fresh. A youth activist explained: ‘There was a big fear in the street at the very beginning. First, political parties were discouraging demonstrations. Then, there was also our fear that the others would see us as ‘secessionists’ [infisaliyin]. We knew that the regime would try to say this about us, just as it had done during the 2004 Qamishli events’. Reactions varied from city to city. In Amouda, for example, the local youth committee joined the uprising and benefited from experience young activists acquired in 2004. Elsewhere, where Kurdish political parties were stronger, their leaders feared harsh regime repression and kept any inclination to protest in check, including in Qamishli, where the parties have their headquarters. The regime was keen to avert a showdown in the north east, concerned it might divert precious resources and eager to maintain the loyalty of minority groups by depicting the uprising as an essentially Sunni Arab sectarian revolt. As a result, it dealt with local unrest in Kurdish regions far more tactfully than in other areas and promptly made political overtures to the Kurds. In April 2011, after anti-regime demonstrations erupted in majority-Arab cities, the regime extended citizenship to several thousand Kurds in the Hasake region. The unspoken purpose of the concession was to placate the constituency and keep a lid on anti-regime Kurdish protests. It is unclear whether this tactic worked. A number of Kurds complained the move was insufficient but felt that if they refrained from acting against the regime, more might be forthcoming. Others disagreed.” (ICG, 22. Jänner 2013, S. 7-8)
Wie Human Rights Watch (HRW) berichtet, erließ Präsident Assad am 4. April 2011 ein Dekret, kraft dessen einer Anzahl von in Syrien geborenen staatenlosen Kurden die Staatsbürgerschaft verliehen worden sei (HRW, 22. Jänner 2012).
Der deutsche Auslandsrundfunk Deutsche Welle (DW) berichtet im Mai 2013:
„At the start of the revolt, Assad gave the stateless Kurds their citizenship back, in order to head off uprisings in the Kurdish regions of the country too. For tactical reasons, a section of the Syrian army was withdrawn from Kurdish areas and redeployed elsewhere. […] But not everything is so positive - the war is having an impact. Power outages are widespread. Garbage is piled on the streets. The prices of staple foods have risen considerably in the past two years. Medical attention is hard to come by, as most doctors have left the country. The schools are largely kept closed for security reasons. On top of that, a mosaic of different political groups makes the situation for the civilians even more difficult. The security situation is complex and often hard to comprehend. In the last few months there have been several government air strikes on Kurdish regions.” (DW, 22. Mai 2013)
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) schreibt in seinem Bericht zur weltweiten Lage von Minderheiten vom September 2013 (Berichtsjahr 2012):
„Kurds are denied their basic rights. They represent about 10 per cent of the Syrian population. Their language is not recognized and is not taught in schools. In addition, Kurds who could not prove their residence in Syria from 1945 onwards were denied their Syrian nationality according to Law 93 of 1962. About 300,000 Kurds do not have citizenship and are stateless. This puts pressure on their daily life in employment, travel and marriage. It should be noted that President Assad issued a decree to grant citizenship to Kurds living in Hasaka in 2011.
Towards the end of 2012, there were reports of fighting between the opposition Free Syria Army and Kurdish fighters linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), raising fears of a power struggle. Kurds have otherwise kept their distance from the fighting to avoid being targeted. Kurds have set up checkpoints along the main road of Qamishli, the unofficial capital of the Kurdish area. The lack of government presence in the Kurdish areas has given them more freedoms and they have started teaching the Kurdish language, which was forbidden before the March 2011 uprising. By assuming responsibility to keep security in their region, a cultural renewal has been made possible, with Kurds now able to speak their language freely. But this has not meant that the Kurdish region has been isolated from the conflict. According to media reports, schools have been closed and medical assistance has been hard to come by. There have also been government air strikes against the region.” (MRG, 24. September 2013, S. 205-206)
Der französische Auslandsnachrichtensender France 24 berichtet im September 2013:
„Though Syria's Kurds have long been marginalised and oppressed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime, they have also been at odds with the opposition. Frequent, fierce battles have erupted in majority Kurdish areas in northern Syria, mainly pitting Kurdish fighters against Islamist militants over whom the opposition Coalition has no control.”(France 24, 16. September 2013)
Der US-Auslandssender Voice of America (VOA) berichtet im September 2013:
„Civil war may have devastated much of Syria over the past two-and-a-half years, but one part of the country – its northeastern Kurdish region – has been relatively unscathed. Last month, however, a flood of nearly 200,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees into the largely autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq raised new fears that Syria’s Kurds are becoming increasingly embroiled in the Middle East’s most violent conflict. The refugees were fleeing attacks by jihadist groups that attacked Kurdish communities along the Turkish border. Militant groups such as al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, are fighting to control border areas near Turkey because they control vital supply routes. The fighting was also sparked in part by Syrian Kurds trying to form an interim government in the area -- complete with a constitution and a parliament. The plans unveiled in mid-July by the Democratic Union Party, known as the PYD, led to fighting between PYD-affiliated militias, known as the YPG, and the largest Syrian opposition armed group, the Syrian Free Army. The YPG also fought with jihadi groups like Jabhat al-Nusra.” (VOA, 16. September 2013)
Die Tageszeitung The Guardian schreibt in einem Artikel vom August 2013:
„For more than two years the war has raged without serious impact on Kurdish communities in Turkey and northern Iraq. All the while, most Syrian Kurds have endeavoured to remain neutral as rebel groups, backed by increasing numbers of jihadists, have battled the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his backers. Kurds and mainstream rebel groups had largely managed to hold an uneasy truce in the northeast of the country, which was shattered in recent months when jihadists attacked Kurdish communities near the Turkish border. The area is a vital corridor for jihadists from Iraq, who are taking a more prominent role in Syria's eastern desert areas, which border with Iraq's Anbar province where a revitalised Sunni insurgency is raging. Villages in Efrin, Hassake and Qamishly are defended by well-armed Kurdish militias. However, communities are steadily being ravaged by the fighting and chilled by the realisation that security in Syria's northeast is likely to deteriorate further.” (Guardian, 18. August 2013)
Die US-amerikanische Denkfabrik Jamestown Foundation (JF) berichtet im Juni 2013 unter Berufung auf andere Quellen über Konflikte zwischen arabischen Stämmen und Kurden:
„Syrian Arab tribes are divided into qabila (national and trans-national tribal confederations) and ‘ashira (individual tribes). […]
The largest qabila in Syria, particularly the Ougaidat, Baggara and Shammar, are transnational tribal confederations that have constituent clans throughout the country. […]
Overall leadership of the Baggara was at one point claimed by Shaykh Nawaf Raghib al-Bashir, the son of the now deceased former paramount Shaykh of the Baggara. Shaykh al-Bashir, who was one of the prominent opposition figures who signed the 2005 reformist Damascus Declaration, was jailed by the Syrian government in 2011 and reportedly forced to issue a statement in support of President Bashar al-Assad (al-Sharq al-Awsat, January 18, 2012). Following his defection to Turkey, Shaykh al-Bashir became a prominent leader within the Council of the Arab Tribes in Syria and the leader of the Jazirah and Euphrates Front to Liberate Syria (al-Safir [Beirut], February 21). […]
Shaykh al-Bashir has organized several armed groups that have actively sought to attack Kurds in and around the ethnically mixed city of Ras al-‘Ayn in the northeastern area of al-Hasakah governorate along the Turkish border (National [Dubai], January 30). Pro-government Baggara fighters, without links to Shaykh al-Bashir, are also stated to have participated in attacks against the Kurdish Partiya Yekitiya Demokrat (PYD - Democratic Union Party) in the ethnically mixed northern Aleppo neighborhood of Shaykh Maqsud (, May 11, 2012). The participation of Baggara tribal fighters in attacks against Kurds demonstrates the continuingly fragile state of Kurdish and Arab tribal relations in ethnically mixed regions such as Aleppo and al-Jazirah (see Terrorism Monitor, June 1, 2012).
The cities of al-Hasakah and Qamishli in the northeastern area of the governorate of al-Hasakah near the borders with Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan have emerged as a site of conflict between Arab tribes and Kurds. In Qamishli, members of the Ta’ie tribe have been organized into pro-Assad ‘Popular Committees’ under the command of the Syrian MP and Ta’ie Shaykh Muhammad Fares and are reported to have engaged in several clashes with Kurdish fighters from the PYD [All4Syria, November 30, 2012]. However, local Arab tribal leaders and Kurdish notables who grew up together have formed a joint council in Qamishli to avoid such conflict. The conflict on the Kurdish side is generated by individuals and groups linked to the PYD. [14]” (JF, 27. Juni 2013)
Der USDOS-Länderbericht zur Menschenrechtslage vom April 2013 schreibt Folgendes über die Lage der Kurden im Jahr 2012:
„The government actively restricted national and ethnic minorities from conducting traditional, religious, and cultural activities. The Kurdish population – citizens and noncitizens – faced official and societal discrimination and repression as well as greater government-sponsored violence than in previous years. While in prior years the government showed tolerance to the Kurds, reportedly in an attempt to manipulate sectarian tensions for propaganda purposes, during the year government forces arrested, detained, and reportedly tortured numerous Kurdish activists during the year. According to local media, the government instigated military assaults during Kurdish festivals such as the New Year (Nowruz) celebrations. The government continued to limit use and teaching of the Kurdish language. It also restricted publication of books and other materials in Kurdish, Kurdish cultural expression, and (at times) the celebration of Kurdish festivals. Authorities continued enforcement of an old ruling requiring that at least 60 percent of the words on signs in shops and restaurants be in Arabic. Officials reportedly sent patrols to commercial districts to threaten shop owners with closure if they refused to change the names of their stores into Arabic. Minority groups – especially Kurds, whom the government appeared to target specifically – regarded the step as a further attempt to undermine their cultural identity.” (USDOS, 19 April 2013, section 6)
Der Länderbericht des US Department of State (USDOS) vom Mai 2012 beschreibt die Lage der Kurden im Jahr 2011 wie folgt:
„The government generally permitted national and ethnic minorities to conduct traditional, religious, and cultural activities, although the Kurdish population – citizens and noncitizens – continued to face official and societal discrimination and repression. However, the government used less violence and arrested fewer Kurds than in previous years. Many activists and opposition groups claimed that the government’s marked change in attitude toward the Kurds was an effort to manipulate sectarian tensions for propaganda purposes. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of suspicious Kurdish conscript deaths in the military, nor did government forces perpetrate violence during Kurdish festivals such as the New Year (Nowruz) celebrations.” (USDOS, 24. Mai 2012, section 6)
2) Situation von Angehörigen der „Maktumin“ vor und seit Beginn des Aufstands
Informationen zur Situation von Maktumin sind der folgenden Auskunft der Schweizerischen Flüchtlingshilfe vom Juli 2013 zu entnehmen:
Ältere Informationen zu diesem Thema finden sich in einer ACCORD-Anfragebeantwortung vom 29. August 2011 und einem im März 2010 veröffentlichten Bericht von Kurdwatch, einer NGO, die die menschenrechtliche Lage der Kurden in Syrien dokumentiert:
Ein Bericht des UNO-Sonderberichterstatters zu körperlicher und geistiger Gesundheit an den UNO-Menschenrechtsrat (HRC) vom März 2011 enthält folgenden Überblick zur Lage staatenloser Kurden, in dem auch auf die Maktumin (hier in der Schreibweise „maktumeen“) eingegangen wird:
„In the 1960s, the Government began a process known as ‘arabization’, which sought to expand the influence and assert the primacy of Arab linguistic cultural traditions throughout the whole of Syria. As a complement to this process, in 1962, the Government mandated an impromptu census, unofficially known as the ‘Hasakah Census’. As a result of this census, somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 Kurds were divested of their Syrian citizenship and effectively rendered stateless. The Syrian Government’s justification for doing so was to claim that this particular population of Kurds illegally entered Syria from Turkey and were therefore not Syrian nationals. However, there are numerous examples from immediately after the Hasakah Census where, even within nuclear families, people were given differing citizenship status. Today, this group’s numbers have grown to approximately 300,000; this is only an estimate. […]
Within Syria, there are two groups of stateless Kurds, known as ajaneb and maktumeen. The ajanib, consisting of approximately 200,000 people, have been given red identity cards, which allows them a degree of access to medical facilities, goods, and services generally similar to that of other Syrian citizens. Of greater concern is the remaining group of approximately 100,000 people, maktumeen, who have no form of identification at all, and therefore their access to health care, goods and services is limited. As previously stated, due to the lack of disaggregated data, assessing the real size of the affected population is very difficult. […]
Reports regarding whether identification is necessary to access health goods and services are often contradictory. While it does not seem that identification must be presented to receive emergency care in public health centres, beyond this initial acceptance, specialized treatments (i.e. treatment for chronic diseases, cancer etc.) and care are often reported to be inaccessible. […]
In reporting to the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights the Syrian Government indicated that in order for children to enroll in primary school proof of the parents’ citizenship or legality of stay in Syria is needed. Moreover, stateless persons are not allowed to work in Syria.” (HRC, 21. März 2011, S. 15-16)
[Passage aus dem Asylbericht des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes entfernt]
Der gemeinsame Fact-Finding-Mission-Bericht der Dänischen Einwanderungsbehörde (Danish Immigration Service, DIS) und von ACCORD vom Mai 2010 geht wie folgt auf die Lage der Maktumin ein:
„Ein kurdischer Journalist und Menschenrechtsaktivist gab an, dass Maktumin im Gesundheitssystem schwerwiegend diskriminiert werden. Im Jahr 2007 gab der Premierminister eine Verordnung heraus, der zufolge nur Personen im Besitz eines Gesundheitsbuchs ein staatliches Spital besuchen dürfen. Maktumin, die kein Gesundheitsbuch erhalten können, sind von dieser Regelung schwer betroffen, da sie zum ärmsten Teil der Bevölkerung gehören und für ihre medizinische Behandlung auf staatliche Spitäler angewiesen sind. […]
Nach Angaben einer westlichen diplomatischen Quelle (5) ist ein Personalausweis nötig, um Zugang zu Gesundheitseinrichtungen zu erhalten, selbst bei der primären Gesundheitsversorgung, was Maktumin vom Zugang zu öffentlicher Gesundheitsversorgung abhält. Die Alternative dazu sind private Gesundheitseinrichtungen oder der Einsatz von Schmiergeldern oder persönlichen Verbindungen, um Zugang zum öffentlichen Gesundheitssystem zu erlangen.“ (DIS/ACCORD, Mai 2010, S. 66)
„Ein kurdischer Journalist und Menschenrechtsaktivist gab an, dass Maktumin im Bildungssystem schwerwiegend diskriminiert werden. Einem Rundschreiben des Bildungsministeriums folgend dürften Grundschulen keine Schulzeugnisse ausstellen, die ihnen den Besuch höherer Schulen ermöglichen würden.“ (DIS/ACCORD, Mai 2010, S. 70)
Der Bericht des UNO-Sonderberichterstatters über das Recht auf Nahrung an den UNO-Menschenrechtsrat (UN Human Rights Council, HRC) vom Jänner 2011 geht wie folgt auf die allgemeine Lage der Kurden in Syrien ein:
„An estimated 120,000 Syrian-born Kurds claim that they became stateless in 1962, when a census was conducted in Al Hasakah governorate. According to the Government, the census aimed to differentiate between Kurds born in the State and those who entered it illegally from Turkey or Iraq after 1945. The number of stateless Kurds, both ajaneb and maktumeen, has subsequently grown, and is now estimated to be between 250,000 and 300,000. Although these figures are subject to debate, the issue is one of principle. Ajaneb Kurds remain registered by the Government as foreign and are ineligible for State subsidies or for access to State hospitals. They also have no access to public employment, and may face discrimination when trying to obtain health services or tertiary education. Maktumeen Kurds face even higher barriers. Since these individuals, as stateless Kurds, do not possess any legal, administrative or other identity and are considered foreign, they may face obstacles in their access to certain social programmes or when seeking employment in the formal sector, which would afford them the economic means to purchase their own food. The Special Rapporteur received conflicting evidence about the impact of their administrative situation on their enjoyment of the right to food for these groups. He notes, however, that, regardless of nationality and/or administrative status, the Government has an obligation to ensure the enjoyment of the right to food for everyone under its jurisdiction.”(HRC, 27. Jänner 2011, S. 14)

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