In 2020, the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity (SACD) continued to grow as a movement of displaced Syrians with a clearly defined mission: to ensure that millions of displaced people have a strong voice in all decisions that affect them and the future of Syria. Although the Covid-19 pandemic made it extremely difficult for the movement to work in full capacity, the Association made significant strides on various fronts: affecting the policy discourse on return and the rights of displaced Syrians, engaging decision makers directly and through various communication strategies, mobilizing displaced Syrians around the ideas of the Association and reaching hundreds of thousands of people around the globe with the SACD message.
The SACD priorities and efforts in 2020 have reflected the greatest threats facing displaced Syrians: the ongoing forced displacement of Syrians, especially those who fell victim to the Syrian regime’s onslaught on Idlib; the danger of premature return to an unsafe Syria, particularly to areas under the control of Syrian regime; the dire situation faced by internally displaced people and refugees in countries like Lebanon; the dangers and ongoing repression of the people who were forced to return to the regime-held areas and who live in the so called “reconciliation areas”; and the continuous efforts of the Syrian regime and its allies to gain international funding for reconstruction without conditions being created for a safe, voluntary and dignified return.
This review of the Association’s efforts in 2020 will give you an insight into how much we did and achieved on all these fronts. Today, international policy-makers from key countries and international organisations see the Association as a credible, legitimate voice of displaced Syrians. The protagonists of all relevant political and policy discussions on issues of displacement are increasingly using the discourse shaped by the Association’s advocacy over the last couple of years. Our reports and analysis are considered and used by leading academic, advocacy and policy-oriented organisations working on Syria. Our voice is carried in international and regional media. And, most importantly, the cause of the Association is increasingly recognized and joined by Syrians everywhere, from the camps in Idlib to the shores of New Zealand, from Denmark to Urfa, from New York to Berlin and Beirut.
Yet, while this review of SACD’s 2020 focuses largely on our advocacy efforts, the Association never stopped working on a crucial track which is an integral part of its DNA: building the popular movement. During 2020, the SACD through its members and trustees reached out directly to thousands of displaced Syrians in Syria and around the globe, through direct outreach activities, webinars and meetings, despite the restrictions and limitations imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Those meetings and conversations helped the Association as a movement to expand the reach of its core vision and goals to a broad constituency of Syrians. As a result of such efforts, complemented by the advocacy activities, the narrative of the Association has been adopted by a wide range of Syrians in various walks of life, and the process of building a powerful movement is moving forward, despite all difficulties and challenges we are facing.
In 2021 we will strive to do even more and to elevate the rights of displaced Syrians to the top of the agenda in all conversations on the future of the country. We will fight for the rights of displaced Syrians everywhere, for a safe environment for all Syrians in Syria, for the right to a safe, dignified and voluntary return, for the displaced Syrians inherent right to define the conditions of return, against premature return and against any decisions harmful and detrimental to the rights of displaced people. We are committed to the cause of millions of displaced people who may have lost everything, but will never give up on their dignity and rights. We will continue to build a powerful movement which will make sure that no decision is taken in our name, without our voice being heard and taken into account. For we are Syria.