To mark the three-year anniversary of the uprising in Syria, the International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law (IWHR), MADRE, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) have released a report detailing the egregious pattern of sexual violence Syrian women face in the war on Syrian women's exclusion from high-level peace negotiations. This report calls for accountability and redress for these violations, which experts consider to be crimes against humanity and war crime and highlights the importance of including women's voices in peace negotiations processes as a means to address gender-based violence.
The report, Seeking Accountability and Effective Response for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Against Syrian Women: Women's Inclusion in Peace Processes, comes as Syrian women have been organizing across sectarian lines to secure a role in peace negotiations, despite being excluded thus far. By examining the current pattern of sexual violence and pre-conflict social and legal framework that Syrian women were working to change, the report shows that any transitional justice process must equip women with the legal infrastructure to ensure that the end of the conflict brings meaningful peace to women in Syria.
“We want peace and we want to be part of it,” said Sabbah Alhallak, member of Syrian Women's League. “That is the bottom line.”
“Only by including women now can Syrian civil society successfully change the approach to sexual and gender-based violence, both as the conflict unfolds and after peace is declared, to ensure victim reparations and a new social and legal framework,” said Lisa DavisClinical Professor of Law, IWHR.
“Even though they have been excluded up to now, Syrian women are active and prepared to be involved in the peace negotiations,” said Madeleine Rees, secretary general of WILPF, “It is unconscionable and wrong to exclude women at this critical juncture in Syria's history.”
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