HRC37: Statement on the Importance of Consistent Gender Analysis in UN Reporting on Syria

13 March 2018

 UN Human Rights Council 37th session (26 February – 23 March 2018)
Item 4. Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom welcomes the Commission of Inquiry’s report (A/HRC/37/72) and remains concerned about the Syrian regime’s persistent denial of access to the Commission into the country.

We welcome the inclusion of analysis and recommendations relating to enforced disappearance and detention. We strongly support all the principles and initiatives that the Commission recommends to the Human Rights Council to be adhered to in all efforts aimed at bringing an end to the conflict. [1]

Mr. Pinheiro, the Commission’s report reflects a solid and comprehensive mapping of the human rights violations in Syria, and we welcome the inclusion of some sex-disaggregated data.

WILPF advocates that the Commission adopt a more comprehensive and consistent gender analysis. This methodology will illustrate more how the violations perpetrate and perpetuate differences in the roles, and degrees of power held by Syrian women and men, girls and boys and the impact of these differences in their lives.

Some gender analysis is included in the report, such as, where it addresses the conditions in camps of internally displaced persons, where it examines the particular challenges faced by women and girls in accessing healthcare[2] and using latrines.[3]

We recognize that the Commission will release a separate, conference room paper on sexual and gender-based violence in Syria later this week.[4] Self-evidently, examining the extent of sexual and gender-based violence is a very important part of human rights reports, and must complement reporting that captures the fullsome experiences of those whose rights are violated.

Adopting a gender analysis in the context of documenting grave violations of human rights in Syria would help all stakeholders, particularly Member and observer States of this Council, to grasp how those violations generate different needs, constraints and sometimes even opportunities to ameliorate gender relations. It would therefore provide the basis for developing gender-sensitive policies and approaches in response to the crisis in Syria.


[1]           See paragraph 17 of section 2 of the report (page 5)

[2]           “Expectant mothers in Mabrouka were left particularly vulnerable, as the camp lacked specialised maternity care. Only those women who could afford to pay SDF authorities were taken to a nearby hospital to deliver, while those who could not delivered babies on unhygienic campgrounds with the support of other displaced women”, Paragraph 8, page 28.

[3]           “On 27 August, the SDF further conceded unsatisfactory living conditions when it announced a fumigation campaign to deal with “the problem of snakes, scorpions, and poisonous desert animals” at the camp, which it noted posed a particularly harmful threat to children. Women and girls were also particularly affected due to a lack of adequate latrines, with many recalling having waited until dark to relieve themselves in open areas due to fears of assault, humiliation, as well as the cultural sensitivity of using a latrine which was also being used by males” Paragraph 11, page 28.

[4]           Conference room paper: “‘I lost my dignity’: Sexual and gender-based violence in the Syrian Arab Republic” – release expected on 15 March 2018, see