The WILPF International Secretariat in Geneva is in a flurry of activity: the women from Syria have arrived! Tomorrow they will cross the street from our office to the UN and speak before Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, as well as Ms. Navanethem Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at a high level UN side event organised by WILPF and  Human Rights Watch and sponsored by France, UK, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands. Once there, these women will lobby for the right of Syrian women to be heard in the upcoming Geneva II peace negotiations in January 2014.

This meeting represents a crucial juncture in whether Brahimi and Member States will concede and decide to finally uphold their legal and moral obligation to satisfy and reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions 1325 and 2122, which state the importance of real inclusion of women in the peace process.

These women risk harsh repercussions by the State, including ostracization and persecution, to say what shouldn’t need to be said: women must be included in the Geneva II peace talks. Women have a right to be included in the talks that will help determine both the fate of their country and the resolution of the longstanding Syrian conflict.
Syrian delegation preparing for high-level meeting

WILPF and Syrian delegates preparing for tomorrow’s high level UN meeting. Credits: Rowan Farrell.

Today WILPF supports these women to plan and prepare their interventions and demands. But, make no mistake, these women already possess experience, skills, strategies, analysis and clear demands, and what is most important: courage.

They possess the courage to stand up for the women that can’t be present, courage to represent those without the guns, and courage to say what no one is saying.

Why give a voice to only those individuals and parties that are armed, when the entire Syrian population will rebuild their country?

Stand with the Syrian women tomorrow, for women and for their right to be heard.

How to Contribute  

If you would like to support these women and their right to speak, join the campaign Women Lead to Peace and sign the petition to include Syrian women at the table. This campaign is led by a coalition of women’s organisations including WILPF that are working to ensure that Syrian women play a vital role at the Geneva II peace talks as a third formal party to the current two parties led by the opposition and Syrian government.

To read more about the semi-private UN side event tomorrow, check out the official announcement by the Permanent Mission of France to the UN in Geneva. As this event unfolds, we will keep you updated via articles on our website and announcements on social media, so stay tuned!

The side event is tomorrow Thursday December 19th 2013 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It will be held in room XXIII from 12:00 to 14:00. The event is semi-private; a UN badge is required to attend the event.