On 22 January 2014, the United Nations (UN)-backed Geneva II peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are scheduled to be held with the goal of ending the Syrian conflict and creating a transitional government. However, nearly 14 years after the landmark passage of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) calling on UN member states to “increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts,” no women have been included in the Syrian peace negotiations.
In recent years, peace agreements around the world have fallen apart at a startling rate. Research and experience are increasingly pointing to one major explanation – the failure to include a broad range of stakeholders, especially women, in peace processes. The exclusion of Syrian women from the process not only undermines the promotion and protection of women’s human rights, but also reduces chances for a sustainable peace and future development for all Syrians.
Women’s concerns are at the core of security concerns and sustainable peace and as UNSCR 1325 recognizes, including the voices of women in peacebuilding anywhere is not negotiable. The UN Secretary-General has specifically called upon UN member states, envoys and mediators to consult with women leaders and civil society organizations and to engage them in peacebuilding; yet Syrian women and civil society still do not have a seat at the table.
To achieve a different outcome for the Syrian peace process, there must be a different approach!
In partnership with Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace, Equality Now is calling on the key players leading the peace talks – the UN, US and Russia – to immediately and urgently include women in the Geneva II peace process so that a peace that respects the dignity and human rights of all Syrians can be achieved. The Syrian Donors Conference, scheduled for 14 January 2014, must also include as a priority funding for Syrian women’s participation in all peace processes and post-conflict programs.
Syrian women are organized and their message is clear: women must be part of peacebuilding in Syria if there is to be any hope for democracy and peace. The Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace, representing more than 40 groups within Syria with a diverse range of political, social, ethnic, age, and education backgrounds introduced a Seven Point Road Map to Gender Sensitive Peace Building Process in Syria.
Please join Equality Now and the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace in calling for gender sensitive peacebuilding in Syria and holding the UN and US accountable to their commitments to include women and civil society in all Syrian peace processes.
“Women’s voices must be included in the peace process not only because they are victims of war but also, more importantly, because women are the most effective peacebuilders. In the conflict men have taken up arms while women are holding communities together; women have become stronger and better equipped to play a key role in securing real peace.” -Mouna Ghanem, Founder, Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace
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