Corruption - Corruption

Corruption is rampant, and it is spreading at an increasing rate, with perceptions of corruption growing exponentially larger in the last year relative to the previous eight year period.

The spread of corruption

Participants emphasized that the level of corruption in Syria is growing rapidly, even since the 2019 survey, after doubling between 2011 and 2019 (Figure 30).

Figure 30. Corruption rates, 2020-2011
Very high corruption rates 20%
High corruption rates 19%
Average corruption rates 33%
Low corruption rates 24%
There is no corruption 4%
Before 2011
Very high corruption rates 39%
High corruption rates 35%
Average corruption rates 23%
Low corruption rates 3%
There is no corruption 0%
Very high corruption rates 54%
High corruption rates 23%
Average corruption rates 20%
Low corruption rates 3%
There is no corruption 0%

After almost 10 years of conflict, no respondents described the current situation as “corruption free”. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of the respondents believe that corruption is widespread, with a high or very high rate in 2020 (Figure 30). A number of factors have exacerbated the spread of corruption, including recent regime policies and the powers granted to specific bodies, without restrictions or controls; the country’s declining economic situation; and low salaries for government workers.

Note: figure shows participants’ responses to the question “Do you think you have to pay bribes to obtain your citizenship rights?”

Figure 31. Necessity to pay bribes
  • Yes
  • No

One way in which corruption manifests in the lives of ordinary Syrians is the need to pay bribes and use personal relationships and networks of influence to access their rights as citizens (Figure 31). Most of the participants’ testimonies indicated that bribes are normal in government institutions and are known to officials. This is partially because government workers receive low pay and consider bribes an essential part of their income. According to the survey participates, this applies to most government institutions, even in so-called benign areas of life that the government controls, such as accessing food and fuel, education, and employment.

We are currently paying bribes for our right to bread, our right to heating, our right to water, our right to electricity, and even our right to life.

The Role of the Judicial System in Corruption Cases

More than half of the respondents (52 percent) do not believe they have fair and transparent access to the judicial system, as their rights are impacted by corruption and a lack of independence (Figure 32).

Note: figure shows participants’ responses to the question “Do you think that in cases of corruption, you can go to court and get a fair result?”

Figure 32. Perceptions of judicial impartiality
  • Yes
  • No

The judicial system follows the security apparatus and cannot issue any decision without reference to it.

More than half (52 percent) of participants said they did not believe it was useful to report corruption (Figure 32). Most respondents believe that corruption occurs with the blessing and supervision of responsible departments and officials, and that the regime shows no real interest in fighting corruption.

 Simply, we live in a country where objection is forbidden.

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