Basic Principles


The Arab nation managed to perform a great role in building human civilization when it was a unified nation. When the ties of its national cohesion weakened, its civilizing role receded and the waves of colonial conquest shattered the Arab nation's unity, occupied its territory, and plundered its resources. Our Arab nation has withstood these challenges and rejected the reality of division, exploitation, and backwardness out of its faith in its ability to surmount this reality and return to the arena of history in order to play, together with the other liberated nations, its distinctive role in the construction of civilization and progress. With the close of the first half of this century, the Arab people's struggle has been expanding and assuming greater importance in various countries to achieve liberation from direct colonialism.

The Arab masses did not regard independence as their goal and the end of their sacrifices, but as a means to consolidate their struggle, and as an advanced phase in their continuing battle against the forces of imperialism, Zionism, and exploitation under the leadership of their patriotic and progressive forces in order to achieve the Arab nation's goals of unity, freedom, and socialism.

In the Syrian Arab region, the masses of our people continued their struggle after independence. Through their progressive march they were able to achieve their big victory by setting off the revolution of 8 March 1963 under the leadership of the Socialist Arab Baath Party, which has made authority an instrument to serve the struggle for the construction of the United Socialist Arab society.

The Socialist Arab Baath Party is the first movement in the Arab homeland which gives Arab unity its sound revolutionary meaning, connects the nationalist with the socialist struggle, and represents the Arab nation's will and aspirations for a future that will bind the Arab nation with its glorious past and will enable it to carry out its role in achieving victory for the cause of freedom of all the peoples.

Through the party's militant struggle, the 16 Nov 1970 corrective movement responded to our people's demands and aspirations. This corrective movement was an important qualitative development and a faithful reflection of the party's spirit, principles, and objectives. It created the appropriate atmosphere for the fulfillment of a number of significant projects in the interest of our large masses, primarily the emergence of the state of the Confederation of Arab Republics in response to the call for unity, which figures prominently in the Arab conscience, which was buttressed by the joint Arab struggle against imperialism and Zionism, regionalist disputes, and separatist movements, and which was confirmed by the contemporary Arab revolution against domination and exploitation.

Under the aegis of the corrective movement, an important stop was taken on the road leading to the consolidation of national unity for our popular masses. Under the leadership of the socialist Arab Baath Party, a national and progressive front with developed conceptions emerged in such a manner as to meet our people's needs and interests and proceed toward unifying the instrument of the Arab revolution in a unified political organization.

The completion of this Constitution crowns our people's struggle on the road of the principle of popular democracy, is a clear guide for the people's march toward the future and a regulator of the movement of the state and its various institutions, and is a source of its legislation.

The Constitution is based on the following major principles:

  1. The comprehensive Arab revolution is an existing and continuing necessity to achieve the Arab nation's aspirations for unity, freedom, and socialism. The revolution in the Syrian Arab region is part of the comprehensive Arab revolution. Its policy in all areas stems from the general strategy of the Arab revolution.
  2. Under the reality of division, all the achievements by any Arab country will fail to fully achieve their scope and will remain subject to distortion and setback unless these achievements are buttressed and preserved by Arab unity. Likewise, any danger to which any Arab country may be exposed on the part of imperialism and Zionism is at the same time a danger threatening the whole Arab nation.
  3. The march toward the establishment of a socialist order besides being a necessity stemming from the Arab society's needs, is also a fundamental necessity for mobilizing the potentialities of the Arab masses in their battle with Zionism and imperialism.
  4. Freedom is a sacred right and popular democracy is the ideal formulation which insures for the citizen the exercise of his freedom which makes him a dignified human being capable of giving and building, defending the homeland in which he lives, and making sacrifices for the sake of the nation to which he belongs. The homeland's freedom can only be preserved by its free citizens. The citizen's freedom can be completed only by his economic and social liberation.
  5. The Arab revolution movement is a fundamental part of the world liberation movement. Our Arab people's struggle forms a part of the struggle of the peoples for their freedom, independence, and progress.
This constitution serves as a guide for action to our people's masses so that they will continue the battle for liberation and construction guided by its principles and provisions in order to strengthen the positions of our people's struggle and to drive their march toward the aspired future.

Part 1 Political Principles

Article 1 Arab Nation, Socialist Republic
(1) The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic, popular, socialist, and sovereign state. No part of its territory can be ceded. Syria is a member of the Union of the Arab Republics.

(2) The Syrian Arab region is a part of the Arab homeland.

(3) The people in the Syrian Arab region are a part of the Arab nation. They work and struggle to achieve the Arab nation's comprehensive unity.

Article 2 Republic, Sovereignty
(1) The governmental system of the Syrian Arab region is a republican system.

(2) Sovereignty is vested in the people, who exercise it in accordance with this Constitution.

Article 3 Islam
(1) The religion of the President of the Republic has to be Islam.

(2) Islamic jurisprudence is a main source of legislation.

Article 4 Language, Capital
The Arab language is the official language. The capital is Damascus.

Article 6 Flag, Emblem, Anthem
The state flag, emblem, and the national anthem are the flag, emblem, and the national anthem of the Union of the Arab Republics.

Article 7 Oath
The constitutional oath is as follows:

"I swear by God the Almighty to sincerely preserve the republican, democratic, and popular system, respect the constitution and the laws, watch over the interests of the people and the security of the homeland, and work and struggle for the realization of the Arab nation's aims of unity, freedom, and socialism."

Article 8 Baath Party
The leading party in the society and the state is the Socialist Arab Baath Party. It leads a patriotic and progressive front seeking to unify the resources of the people's masses and place them at the service of the Arab nation's goals.

Article 9 Organizations
Popular organizations and cooperative associations are establishments which include the people's forces working for the development of society and for the realization of the interests of its members.

Article 10 People's Councils
People's councils are establishments elected in a democratic way at which the citizens exercise their rights in administering the state and leading the society.

Article 11 Armed Forces
The armed forces and other defense organizations are responsible for the defense of the homeland's territory and for the protection of the revolution's objectives of unity, freedom, and socialism.

Article 12
The state is at the people's service. Its establishments seeks to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens and develop their lives. It also seeks to support the political organizations in order to bring about self-development.

Part 2 Economic Principles

Article 13 Economy
(1) The state economy is a planned socialist economy which seeks to end all forms of exploitation.

(2) The region's economic planning serves in achieving economic integration in the Arab homeland.

Article 14 Ownership
The law regulates ownership, which is of three kinds:

(1) Public ownership includes natural resources, public utilities, and nationalized installations and establishments, as well as installations and establishments set up by the state. The state undertakes to exploit and to supervise the administration of this property in the interest of the entire people. It is the duty of the citizens to protect this property.

(2) Collective ownership includes the property belonging to popular and professional organizations and to production units, cooperatives, and other social establishments. The law
guarantees its protection and support.

(3) Individual ownership includes property belonging to individuals. The law defines its social task in serving the national economy within the framework of the development plan. This property should not be used in ways contrary to the people's interests.

Article 15 Expropriation
(1) Individual ownership may not be expropriated except for public interest and in return for just compensation in accordance with the law.

(2) The public seizure of funds is permissible.

(3) Private seizure cannot be effected except through a judicial decision.

(4) Private seizure ordered by law is permissible in return for just compensation.

Article 16 Agricultural Ownership
The law defines the maximum of agricultural ownership in a manner that guarantees the protection of the farmer and of the agricultural worker against exploitation and insures increase in production.

Article 17 Inheritance
The right of inheritance is guaranteed in accordance with the law.

Article 18 Savings
Saving is a national duty protected, encouraged, and organized by the state.

Article 19 Taxes
Taxes are imposed on an equitable and progressive bases which achieve the principles of equality and social justice.

Article 20
The exploitation of private and joint economic foundations must seek to meet the social needs, increase the national income, and achieve the people's prosperity.

Part 3 Educational and Cultural Principles

Article 21 Goals
The educational and cultural system aims at creating a socialist nationalist Arab generation which is scientifically minded and attached to its history and land, proud of its heritage, and filled with the spirit of struggle to achieve its nation's objectives of unity, freedom, and socialism, and to serve humanity and its progress.

Article 22 Progress
The educational system has to guarantee the people's continuous progress and adapt itself to the ever-developing social, economic, and cultural requirements of the people.

Article 23 Socialist Education, Arts, Sports
(1) The nationalist socialist education is the basis for building the unified socialist Arab society. It seeks to strengthen moral values, to achieve the higher ideals of the Arab nation, to develop the society, and to serve the causes of humanity. The state undertakes to encourage and to protect this education.

(2) The encouragement of artistic talents and abilities is one of the bases of the progress and development of society, artistic creation is based on close contact with the people's life. The state fosters the artistic talents and abilities of all citizens.

(3) Physical education is a foundation for the building of society. The state encourages physical education to form a physically, mentally, and morally strong generation.

Article 24 Science, Intellectual Property
(1) Science, scientific research, and all scientific achievements are basic elements for the progress of the socialist Arab society. Comprehensive support is extended by the state.

(2) The state protects the rights of authors and inventors who serve the people's interests.

Part 4 Freedom, Rights, Duties

Article 25 Personal Freedom, Dignity, Equality
(1) Freedom is a sacred right. The state protects the personal freedom of the citizens and safeguards their dignity and security.

(2) The supremacy of law is a fundamental principle in the society and the state.

(3) The citizens are equal before the law in their rights and duties.

(4) The state insures the principle of equal opportunities for citizens.

Article 26 Participation
Every citizen has the right to participate in the political, economic, social, and cultural life. The law regulates this participation.

Article 27 Boundaries of the Law
Citizens exercise their rights and enjoy their freedoms in accordance with the law.

Article 28 Defense
(1) Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a final judicial decision.

(2) No one may be kept under surveillance or detained except in accordance with the law.

(3) No one may be tortured physically or mentally or be treated in a humiliating manner. The law defines the punishment of whoever commits such an act.

(4) The right of litigation, contest, and defense before the judiciary is safeguarded by the law.

Article 29 Criminal Laws
What constitutes a crime or penalty can only be determined by law.

Article 30 Retroactive Laws
Laws are binding only following the date of their enactment and cannot be retroactive. In other than penal cases, the contrary may be stipulated.

Article 31 Home
Homes are inviolable. They may not be entered or searched except under conditions specified by law.

Article 32 Secrecy of Communication
The privacy of postal and telegraphic contacts is guaranteed.

Article 33 Residence, Move
(1) A citizen may not be deported from the homeland.

(2) Every citizen has the right to move within the state's territory unless forbidden to do so by a judicial sentence or in implementation of public health and safety laws.

Article 34 Asylum
Political refugees cannot be extradited because of their political principles or their defense of freedom.

Article 35 Religion
(1) The freedom of faith is guaranteed. The state respects all religions.

(2) The state guarantees the freedom to hold any religious rites, provided they do not disturb the public order.

Article 36 Work
(1) Work is a right and duty of every citizen. The state undertakes to provide work for all citizens.

(2) Every citizen has the right to earn his wage according to the nature and yield of the work. The state must guarantee this.

(3) The state fixes working hours, guarantees social security, and regulates rest and leave rights and various compensations and rewards for workers.

Article 37 Free Education
Education is a right guaranteed by the state. Elementary education is compulsory and all education is free. The state undertakes to extend compulsory education to other levels and to supervise and guide education in a manner consistent with the requirements of society and of production.

Article 38 Expression
Every citizen has the right to freely and openly express his views in words, in writing, and through all other means of expression. He also has the right to participate in supervision and constructive criticism in a manner that safeguards the soundness of the domestic and nationalist structure and strengthens the socialist system. The state guarantees the freedom of the press, of printing, and publication in accordance with the law.

Article 39 Assembly
Citizens have the right to meet and demonstrate peacefully within the principles of the Constitution. The law regulates the exercise of this right.

Article 40 Defense
(1) All citizens have the sacred duty to defend the homeland's security, to respect its Constitution and socialist unionist system.

(2) Military service is compulsory and regulated by law.

Article 41 Taxes
The payment of taxes and public expenses is a duty in accordance with the law.

Article 42 Preservation of Unity
It is a duty of every citizen to preserve the national unity and to protect state secrets.

Article 43 Citizenship
The law regulates Syrian Arab citizenship and guarantees special facilities for the Syrian Arab expatriates and their sons and for the citizens of the Arab countries.

Article 44 Family, Marriage, Children
(1) The family is the basic unit of socity and is protected by the state.
(2) The state protects and encourages marriage and eliminates the material and social obstacles hindering it. The state protects mothers and infants and exteds care to adolescents and youths and provides them with the suitable circumstances to develop their faculties.

Article 45 Women
The state guarantees women all opportunities enabling them to fully and effectively participate in the political, social, cultural, and economic life. The state removes the restrictions that prevent women's development and participation in building the socialist Arab society.

Article 46 Insurance, Welfare
(1) The state insures every citizen and his family in cases of emergency, illness, disability, orphanhood, and old age.

(2) The state protects the citizens' health and provides them with the means of protection, treatment, and medication.

Article 47 Services
The state guarantees cultural, social, and health services. It especially undertakes to provide these services to the village in order to raise ist standard.

Article 48 Organizations
The popular sectors have the right to establish unionist, social, professional organizations, and production cooperatives. The framework of the organizations, their relations, and the scope of their work is defined by law.

Article 49 Organizational Functions
The popular organizations by law effectively participate in the various sectors and councils to realize the following:

(1) Building the socialist Arab society and defending the system.

(2) Planning and guiding of the socialist economy.

(3) Development of work conditions, safety, health, culture, and all other affairs pertaining to the lives of the organization members.

(4) Achievement of scientific and technical progress and the development of the means of production.

(5) Popular supervision of the machinery of government.