Syria is today engulfed in a bitter conflict where, according to reports, thousands of people have died and many have fled to neighbouring countries to find a safe haven. And even long before the current crisis erupted some groups in Syria have been struggling to have their voices heard. Lawand tells his story.
Lawand at work
“Imagine you can’t use your own language,” Lawand, a Kurdish Syrian says on their right to have their language in schools and on state television. Human rights reports have indicated that Syria does not allow Kurds to practice their culture – the use of the Kurdish language, holidays, marriage and the right to organize are restricted.
Kurds are the largest non-Arab ethnic minority in Syria, comprising about close to 10 percent of the population of 13.8 million. Lawand explains that Kurdistan was divided between four countries: Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, leaving them effectively without a home country.
“The Kurd is still in search for his land,” Lawand said. He has refugee status and has been living in Malta for ten years. During this period he established himself as a self-employed construction worker. “In Malta, I feel welcomed. I am happy with my work and friends”, Lawand says.
Syria is different. “If you say something against the Government or the President, the following day you are gone”, Lawand added. Yet, he misses his family. “To this day my mother breaks down in tears each time I call her”, Lawand adds. “She tells me how much she wants to see me before she dies. It breaks my heart to hear it.”
The UNHCR office in Malta worked with a local production company to develop five Public Service Announcements (PSA) TV spots to raise awareness about how protection status is changing the lives of individuals who found safety in Malta. Read more.
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