Syria - Social development
The Ministry for Social and Labor Affairs was formed in 1956 to protect the interests of the working population, provide hygienic housing conditions for workers, and support philanthropic endeavors. A system of social insurance provides old age pensions and disability and death benefits. The pension system is funded by 14% contributions from employers and 7% from employees. Retirement is set at age 60 with 180 months of contributions, or age 55 with 240 months. Survivors' pensions are paid to widows only; widowers are covered only if disabled. Employers also contribute 3% of payroll to fund workers' compensation providing temporary and permanent disability benefits, as well as medical and survivor benefits.
Although the government supports equal pay for equal work and encourages education for women, Islamic precepts govern many areas of women's lives, including marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Women are making slow gains in the workplace. Victims of domestic violence do not seek redress due to social stigma.
The human rights situation is poor and fundamental rights are denied. Arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention are common. Detainee's relatives are also arrested to force confessions. Torture is common. Public criticism of the Ba'ath Party or of government officials is not permitted. Local human rights organizations are banned, although one international organization was allowed to conduct a limited fact-finding mission.