Syria: A Fundamental Need for Greater Focus on Contextualising Women, Peace and Security
18 September 2017
Statement to the UN Human Rights Council 36th session (11 to 29 September 2017)
Item 4. Interactive Dialogue with Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
A much greater focus on contextualising Women, Peace and Security is fundamental, including in this Council and its mechanisms, to ensure meaningful protection, participation and support for women and girls inside Syria, and those seeking refuge abroad.
Throughout the uprising and conflict in Syria, women’s rights activists have worked to deliver a wide range of life saving services and advocate for human rights of women and girls. However, their contributions, experiences, and concerns continue to be missing from international policy discussions, humanitarian response operations and peace negotiations. To address that, WILPF jointly with Amnesty International UK and Women Now for Development organised consultations with Syrian women human rights defenders, gender equality advocates and civil society organisations, including two face-to-face workshops, focus group discussions inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, and key informant interviews with women activists inside Syria and abroad.
One of the concrete outcomes of those consultations was a report that reflects contributions by the phenomenal women’s rights activists, who face devastating threats every day, but bravely continue their work and provide a range of services to Syrians, from education to health, governance, humanitarian relief, empowerment, community work, awareness raising and international advocacy.
The report presents their analysis of barriers and challenges faced with respect to four pillars: participation, violence against women and girls, security and justice, and refugees and forced displacements. It provides recommendations to UN member states and other stakeholders based on their first-hand experience and thorough understanding and analysis of the conflict.
While the consultations and relating report were done to inform the development process of the new UK’s National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security, their analysis and recommendations are very relevant to all states and stakeholders working towards an inclusive Women Peace and Security Agenda as well as those who want to see a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria.
For this reason, we urge all delegations in this room, the Commission of Inquiry and other UN actors to review closely the report and act on its recommendations. The courageous Syrian women who contribute their expertise and will continue to risk their lives everyday deserve no less.