November 16 through 20, WILPF’s Secretary General Madeleine Rees is participating with the Nobel Women’s Initiative delegation on a fact-finding mission to the Balkans. The delegation, entitled Opening Borders: #WomenRefugeesWelcome, comes in response to the current crisis in Europe over asylum seekers, migration and closing borders. The delegation aims to gain a better understanding of the people affected by this crisis as well as advocate for women’s rights and ending the war in Syria.
“We cannot let what happened in Paris be used as an excuse to foment fear, xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment,” said Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate and co-chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. “If we fail to respond to this humanitarian crisis, we will be responsible for deepening the suffering of innocent people, and deepening the divisions that are fuelling war in Syria and elsewhere.”
The delegation will be visiting Belgrade, Zagreb, Berlin and border crossings across the Balkans to increase the visibility of grassroots organisations working to support women refugees from Syria.