Message of Solidarity and Support to the Syrian People

December 18, 2013

 

Photo Source: Flickr/gnuckx

We send this message of solidarity and support to those women, and men, who are organizing for peace. We want to share our experience with you, and work with you to make your voices heard, to insist on peace and justice and demand a society grounded in equality and respect for human rights!

As we met here in Sarajevo at the conference on Women organizing for Change in BiH and Syria we felt compelled to send our words of solidarity to those women and men that are struggling for peace in Syria.

We are acutely aware of the need for peace talks on Syria that must include Syrian women who by now have not been included in the process, even though they are active, prepared and representative.

Twenty years ago we experienced the hell that is war. In our attempts to stop it, we demonstrated, we showed solidarity across the rapidly dividing lines, we called for peace – but we failed! The men who wanted power, at any cost, unleashed untold violence on ordinary people and we were powerless to stop them. For the four years of the war, we tried to keep communities together but when the Peace Agreement came we were ignored and excluded. We were transformed from activists, survivors and women who wanted a new future, to passive victims, without a role in determining the future of our country. As a result, we continue to struggle to be heard, our rights subjugated to nationalisms and corruption.

With despair we see it now happening in Syria – the displacement, disappearances, torture, sexual violence, the killing of loved ones. We hear from our sisters in Syria that they too are being transformed into collective victims with no agency, their rights denied to them, and their voices excluded by the warring parties and by UN and the international community, and that their participation in any political process is not being taken seriously.

We welcome willingness of United Kingdom, France, Canada, Norway, UNHCR, and OCHA to open space for Syrian women to have meaningful participation and enter peace negotiation process. We urge UN and world governments to act decisively and follow the example of the United Kingdom in demanding and ensuring women’s active participation in the process and a seat at the main table of negotiations.

When Dayton Peace Agreement was negotiated the obligations under UN SCR 1325 did not exist but even now in the current process of reforms and constitutional changes the citizens of BiH are excluded from deciding about themselves, while the complete absence of women is even more symptomatic. Our experience makes a compelling case for immediate, direct and meaningful inclusion of Syrian women in the peace talks.

Thus, we are requesting the international community to start implementing UNSCR 1325 and to ensure full participation of women, in the true spirit of the resolution that calls upon involvement of women in peace-making, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.

We warn that failure to do this will delegitimize the whole process in the eyes of the Syrian society as it did in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We send this message of solidarity and support to those women, and men, who are organizing for peace. We want to share our experience with you, and work with you to make your voices heard, to insist on peace and justice and demand a society grounded in equality and respect for human rights!

We stand with you in solidarity, women from Bosnia and Herzegovina!

 

INITIATIVE

WOMEN ORGANIZING FOR CHANGE IN SYRIA AND BOSNIA

Sarajevo, 18 December, 2013

UNSCR 1325 Syria Statement

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