Statement made in the urgent debate on the situation in Eastern Ghouta in the Syrian Arab Republic, UN Human Rights Council 37th session (26 February to 23 March 2018)

WILPF commends efforts in this Council to address the situation in Eastern Ghouta and stop the suffering of civilians there.

In December 2016, the world witnessed one of the bloodiest attacks on civilians in Eastern Aleppo, thinking that no humanitarian catastrophe could outweigh the onslaughts that happened back then.

Today, and with the same collective international apathy in the face of indiscriminate shelling on civilians, targeted airstrikes on medical facilities, and a devastating five-year besiegement, civilians in Eastern Ghouta are yet again the main victims of a man-made humanitarian catastrophe.

In this statement, we will not be describing the bleak image of the current situation in Ghouta, as your ears are probably too fatigued to hear yet another story emanating from the ground. We will also not share with you statistics and death tolls, as you must have lost count years ago.

We will instead draw your attention to the fact that while you are watching the annihilation of Eastern Ghouta, the exceptionally brave women of that besieged area are taking the lead in protecting their families and feeding their neighbours. The women of Ghouta are playing a fundamental role in telling the world about the humanitarian catastrophe in that tiny part of Damascus suburbs; they are the reason why we all have a clear, yet gloomy image of the situation.

Today, we deliver the pleas of Lubna, Nivin, Bayan, Sharifa, Tahani, Faten, and countless other Syrian women heroines, asking Human Rights Council members and observer States to put pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to:

  • Immediately cease all military attacks on residential areas;
  • Allow unimpeded, safe and sustained access to and from Eastern Ghouta and the other besieged areas of Syria, including to humanitarian and medical assistance, in accordance with UN Security Resolutions 2254 and 2401.

We urge you to go beyond condemnation and to do your utmost to make the multilateral system just and effective. One through which Syrians can find sustainable peace and accountability, and not one that is an enabling environment for the impunity of war criminals.