Global: Include women in the Syrian peacebuilding process now!

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Date: 
19 Dec 2013

16 JANUARY 2014 UPDATE: Despite persistent efforts from both inside and outside Syria, women have not been guaranteed a spot at in the upcoming Geneva II peace talks, scheduled to begin 22 January 2014.

Please help Equality Now and the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace maintain pressure on the key players leading the talks – the UN, US and Russia – by renewing our call today. Gender sensitive peacebuilding is the only way to ensure that a peace that respects the dignity and human rights of all Syrians can be achieved.


SWFP delegation meets with members of US Congress
“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

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.

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

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 (for Arabic, click here). The goals, based on the UN’s own Plan of Action to monitor progress on women’s participation in peacebuilding, are strategic and concrete.

Equality Now supports this plan, which calls for:

  • women’s participation in conflict resolution;
  • women’s participation in, and applied gender analysis to, all post-conflict planning processes;
  • post-conflict financing for gender equality and women and girl’s empowerment;
  • gender-responsive civilian capacity-building;
  • women’s representation in post-conflict governance;
  • the rule of law being upheld; and
  • women’s involvement in the economic recovery with specific measures to achieve these necessary commitments by the international community and Syria.

Two years ago, the United States developed the US National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security, implementing UNSCR1325. In it, the US commits to advocating for the integration of women and gender perspectives in negotiations concerning conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and political transitions, including through U.S. delegations serving as a model. Syria is the first test of this commitment.

Equality Now notes the positive statements of the United Kingdom and recognizes the efforts of groups such as Karama and the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom working to secure Syrian women a place at the negotiation table. We urge the UN, US and Russia, and all governments around the world, to follow suit and enable not only the participation of women in the peace-making process, but also to provide any additional support they may need to ensure that the process is successful. The war has brought devastation to so many lives. The peace process, with the integral participation of women, will help ensure it never happens again.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace in calling for gender sensitive peacebuilding in Syria and holding the UN, Russia and the US accountable to their commitments to include women and civil society in all Syrian peace processes.

1)  Call on UN & Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Russian President, Vladmir Putin, to implement UNSCR 1325 and honor their commitment to make women in the Syrian peace process a priority.

H.E. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General
United Nations, S-3800
New York, NY 10017
USA
Email: sg@un.org
Fax: +1 212-963-2155

Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi
Joint Special Representative of the UN & the League of Arab States for Syria
Email: Brahimi@un.org
Khawla Mattar, Spokesperson for Mr. Brahimi
Email: khwala.mattar@unic-eg.org

Vladimir Putin
President of Russia
23, Ilyinka Street
Moscow, 103132
Russia
Email via webform: http://eng.letters.kremlin.ru/send

2)  Call on President Obama and Secretary Kerry to honor their commitment in the US NAP on Women Peace and Security to make Syrian women a priority in the peace process.

President Obama
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
USA
Phone: 202 456-1111
Email: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments
BRhodes@nss.eop.gov  (Ben Rhodes, Foreign Policy Advisor to President Obama)

John Kerry, Secretary of State
US Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
USA
Phone: 202 647-5291
Email: kerryj@state.gov

With a copy to:
Ambassador Russell
Department of State
Global Office for Women’s Issues
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
USA
Email: Russellk@state.gov

3)  Spread the word! Use your social networks to create a groundswell of support by tweeting the following message to the targets below:

Ensure #Syria Women at Geneva II peace talks. Follow #SWFP 7 Point Roadmap to Gender Sensitive Peace http://tinyurl.com/lovf7e4

  • @WhiteHouse (President Obama)
  • @JohnKerry (Secretary of State John Kerry)
  • @Rhodes44 (Ben Rhodes, Foreign Policy Advisor to President Obama)
  • @AmbassadorPower (Samantha Power, US Permanent Representative to the UN)
  • @S_GWI (Department of State, Global Office for Women’s Issues)
  • @LakhdarBrahimi
  • @UN_DPA
  • @UNICCairo
     
Letters: 

1)

Dear Mr. Secretary-General, Special Representative Brahimi, President Putin

I am concerned about the total lack of inclusion of women, especially those from civil society, in the Syrian peace processes. It has been nearly 14 years since 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.” I urge you to do all that you can to ensure that women are able to fully participate in the 22 January 2014 Geneva II peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, the goal of which is to end the Syrian conflict and create a transitional government.

Exclusion of Syrian women from the peace 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. 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 Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace, representing 40 plus groups within Syria from a variety of political, social, ethnic, age, and education backgrounds has introduced a Seven Point Road Map to Gender Sensitive Peace Building Process in Syria. Their message is clear: women must be part of peacebuilding in Syria if there is to be any hope for democracy and peace.

Equality Now supports the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace road map, based on a 7 Point Plan of Action introduced by the UN Secretary General in 2010 to track progress on women’s participation in peacebuilding, which calls for:

  • women’s participation in conflict resolution;
  • women’s participation in, and applied gender analysis to, all post-conflict planning processes;
  • post-conflict financing for gender equality and women and girl’s empowerment;
  • gender-responsive civilian capacity-building;
  • women’s representation in post-conflict governance;
  • the rule of law being upheld; and,
  • women’s involvement in the economic recovery with specific measures to achieve these necessary commitments by the international community and Syria.

I respectfully urge the United Nations and its member states to implement UNSCR 1325 and use all efforts to follow the road map for a gender sensitive peace building process and ensure the inclusion of women from Syrian civil society at Geneva II in January. The war has brought devastation to so many lives. The peace process with the integral participation of women will help ensure it never happens again. Doing so will help achieve dignity, respect for human rights and a sustainable peace for all Syrians.
 
Thank you for your attention.


2)

Dear Mr. President, Secretary Kerry,

I am concerned about the total lack of inclusion of women, especially those from civil society, in the Syrian peace processes. It has been nearly 14 years since the landmark passage of  UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) calling on UN member states, including the United States, to “increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts.” I urge you to do all that you can to ensure that women are able to fully participate in the 22 January 2014 Geneva II peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, the goal of which is to end the Syrian conflict and create a transitional government.

The US government has officially recognized the link between women, peace and security by implementing Security Council Resolution 1325 through the 2011 U.S. National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security (NAP). Exclusion of Syrian women from the peace 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. 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 Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace, representing 40 plus groups within Syria from a variety of political, social, ethnic, age, and education backgrounds, has introduced a Seven Point Road Map to Gender Sensitive Peace Building Process in Syria. Their message is clear: women must be part of peacebuilding in Syria if there is to be any hope for democracy and peace.

Equality Now supports the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace road map, based on a 7 Point Plan of Action introduced by the UN Secretary General in 2010 to track progress on women’s participation in peacebuilding, which calls for:

  • women’s participation in conflict resolution;
  • women’s participation in, and applied gender analysis to, all post-conflict planning processes;
  • post-conflict financing for gender equality and women and girl’s empowerment;
  • gender-responsive civilian capacity-building;
  • women’s representation in post-conflict governance;
  • the rule of law being upheld; and,
  • women’s involvement in the economic recovery with specific measures to achieve these necessary commitments by the international community and Syria.

Through the NAP, the US commits to advocating for the integration of women and gender perspectives in negotiations concerning conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and political transitions. The war in Syria has brought devastation to so many lives and is the first test of this commitment. I respectfully urge the US government to live up to this commitment and use all efforts to follow the road map for a gender sensitive peace building process and ensure the inclusion of women from Syrian civil society at Geneva II. Doing so will help achieve dignity, respect for human rights and a sustainable peace for all Syrians.

Thank you for your attention.