Citizenship problem of Kurds in Syrian census
Twenty per cent of Syria’s ethnic Kurdish population was deprived of Syrian citizenship following a controversial census in 1962, according to human rights groups. Now Syria has announced it will look into the plight of some 300,000 Kurds who have been denied Syrian nationality for close to half a century, a state media reported.
SANA the state-run news agency said, “President Bashar al-Assad has ordered the creation of a committee charged with resolving the problem of the 1962 census in the governorate of Hassake.”
Hassake, an area in northeastern Syria, is home to a large Kurdish community.
The decision comes as part of a string of reforms launched by Mr Assad’s government, which is facing public demands for major reforms.
The government at the time of 1962 census argued its decision was based on a 1945 wave of illegal immigration of Kurds from neighboring countries, including Turkey, to Hassake, where they had “fraudulently” registered as Syrian citizens.
The citizenship problem has long poisoned relations between the government and Syria’s Kurds, who are banned from employment in the public sector as they are not citizens and yet cannot emigrate as they do not have Syrian passports.
This committee “must complete its work before April 15 and President Assad will then issue an appropriate decree to resolve this problem,” SANA reported.
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