As in all conflicts, the perspectives and contributions of women are essential to any effort to end the violence and promote a sustainable resolution and democratic and just peace for the country.
Historically every peace negotiation that has excluded women has failed.
For this reason, WILPF, together with Nobel Women’s Initiative, Kvinna till Kvinna, MADRE, CODEPINK and co-sponsored by PGGC Graduate Institute will host a summit tomorrow, the 21st of January, where Syrian women and other women from countries that have been affected by war, including Western Sahara, the Balkans, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Northern Ireland will share their experiences on how to create a sustainable peace.
Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, as well as Cynthia Enloe, a well-respected academic on issues of gender and militarism, will also attend.
Together, the collective fabric of these women’s stories will demonstrate that peace negotiations must include women’s civil society organizations in peace talks, and that specifically, the UN must include women in the Geneva II peace talks. Women’s full participation as peacemakers is essential to building a lasting peace in Syria.
The need of Syrian women’s voice at upcoming peace talks
There is no doubt that the absence of women at Geneva II could jeopardize the future peace of Syria. The Syrian women’s civil society organizations have repeatedly called on the international community to include Syrian women in the peace talks. Yet, at just two days before the talks are scheduled to commence, we still don’t know if they will proceed – and if they do, whether the women will be included.
Again, we at WILPF have to highlight that the Syrian, women- led civil society organisations need to be at the table. Why? Because the Syrian women know the realities of the conflict and they understand the community dynamics within both a local and international context.
Moreover, since the Syrian civil society must implement any decisions arrived at in the Geneva II peace talks, the presence of women will better inform and broker a viable, peaceful result or a “deep peace” in Syria.
“What can the women bring to the table?”
This question pops up again and again. Our response? The Syrian women are already contributing to the peace building process and are active in building ceasefire arrangements, organising humanitarian work, and providing education and health care.
These women have taken on the responsibilities of relief and recovery, community peace-making and reconciliation, and have documented and provided support to victims of violence.
Their knowledge of the local situation and the current conditions in Syria is absolutely vital to understanding how any agreement can be made to work.
Participate in the summit from your couch
The summit starts tomorrow at 10 am CET (check out this time zone converter). The programme, which is split into three parts, will be streamed live. To follow the summit from your computer, just click on this link which will bring you to CODEPINK’s website:
The footage will be recorded and archived at the site after the summit.
10:00 to 11:15 From War to a Treaty and Holding on to Peace
11:30 to 12:45 The Realities of War: Experiences of Conflict and Its Gendered Assumptions.
13:30 to 15:00 The Participation of Women in Peace Talks and Beyond: Modalities of How to Break a Confrontational Narrative.
Read more on our campaign website, Women Lead to Peace
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