Geneva — A two-day meeting to support women’s participation and voice in the Syrian peace process, convened in Geneva by UN Women together with the Government of the Netherlands, ended today with a statement by Syrian women civil society members and activists.
The Outcome Statement calls for support of the political process, urging all parties to transcend their differences to reach an agreement for a free, pluralistic and democratic Syria that respects human rights, including the rights and equality between men and women; and for decision-makers to respect Syrian women’s right to full political participation in all matters related to shaping the future of their country.
Approximately 50 Syrian women surround UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, (centre-left) and UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi (centre-right) at the conference in Geneva. Photo: UN Women
“We cannot remain silent regarding events in Syria, such as daily death, massive destruction, starvation, displacement of hundreds of thousands of families (in Syria and abroad); and the spread of terror, violence, ongoing detentions, acts of kidnapping, destruction of infrastructure and the spread of disease, particularly among children,” said Sabah Alhallak, who together with Kefah Ali Deeb, Rafif Jouejati and Delsha Ayo, were selected by approximately 50 women from inside and outside Syria who participated in the meeting to address the media on their behalf (read: Syrian Women’s Joint Statement on Engagement in the Syrian Political Process).
“These women worked day and night to identify solutions to bring back security, rights and dignity to the suffering Syrian people”, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. “Women have a critical role to play in creating the foundations for a sustainable peace and a pluralistic Syria based on democracy and respect for human rights. UN Women will continue to be a strong partner for Syrian women to support their collective voice and peace initiatives in the political process,” Mlambo-Ngcuka added.
The meeting was part of UN Women’s long-term efforts to support Syrian women and civil society’s active participation in the Syrian peace process, and to create spaces to hear and advance women’s voices and perspectives in peace efforts, consistent with Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 2122 and the Geneva Communiqué I, which call for the full inclusion and engagement of women in peace processes.
Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands sent a message to the participants congratulating their efforts and courage “I am pleased to hear that Syrian women are letting the world know that the future of Syria should not exclusively be decided by those who carry the arms. Women have a crucial role in implementing a future peace agreement. That is why their voice matters.”
[Source: UN Women press release]