We are Syrian women of diverse backgrounds and positions, and we represent a broad range of women’s and civil society organizations. We have come together to prepare this set of demands and priorities based on our first-hand experience of the suffering of the Syrian people, which has become intolerable. We share the hopes of the Syrian people that the Geneva II conference will be a serious step towards ending the violence and bloodshed in Syria.
We believe that the Geneva I Communique provides a foundation to end all forms of tyranny and to initiate the transition to a civil, democratic, pluralistic, and united states.
Demands related to the participation of women in the peace process
1. We call on the United Nations to uphold its commitments to implement Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122, regarding the status of women in armed conflict. We ask the United Nations pressure on the international community and on the negotiating parties to guarantee the effective participation of women on all negotiating teams and committees in a proportion of no less than 30% for the duration of the negotiation process.
2. Ensure that representatives of women’s organizations and civil society organizations be included as observers in the negotiations.
3. Ensure the meaningful participation of women in the entire political process, including in the formation of the transitional governing body, the constitutional drafting committee, the drafting of the election law, mechanisms of transitional justice, the local administration and local committees for civil peace.
4. Appoint a Syrian gender advisor to the mediation team and establish communication channels to enable joint action and coordination with women’s and civil society organizations.
5. Exert pressure on all the parties and mobilize public opinion campaigns to uphold international commitments and ensure the implementation of the outcomes of the Geneva 2 conference.
6. Work with the mediation team to ensure that the negotiating parties adopt the document produced by this meeting.
7. Take all necessary measures to protect women who participate in negotiations and throughout the political process.
8. Build the capacity of Syrian women activists and civil society organizations in the areas of negotiation and peacebuilding skills.
Demands on the Negotiation Process
1. Adopt the Geneva 1 Communique as the baseline for a political solution and as the starting point for the negotiation process that seeks to build a comprehensive and lasting peace, and which lays the foundation for a state based on citizenship and the rule of law.
2. Start the democratic transition process to end tyranny in all its forms and lay the foundations for a pluralistic, civil and democratic state in which all components of society are equal, and which upholds human rights in accordance with international norms and guarantees freedom of speech and belief.
3. Affirm that the State should be based on the principles of peaceful transfer of power, separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, rule of law and neutrality of the military.
4. Reject any political solution based on ethnicity, confessionalism, religion or military balance on the ground, to protect the territorial integrity of Syria and the unity of its people.
5. Demand that the constitution guarantees the equality of women and men and penalizes all forms of discrimination and violence against women.
6. Demand a constitution that guarantees the rights of equal citizenship to the Syrian people in all their diversity and affiliations.
7. Establish a clear timetable for the negotiation phase.
8. Urge all relevant international actors to end all forms of military support to the parties and call upon neighboring states to control their borders with Syria in accordance with international laws.
9. Develop a national Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration program.
10. Incorporate strategies to guarantee gender-sensitive transitional justice.
11. Prohibit the transitional government from entering into contractual agreements that extend beyond its tenure or from signing contracts that may bind the country beyond the transitional stage or threaten its independence in any way.
Priorities as related to ending the fighting, promoting the peace process and improving the humanitarian situation
1. Adopt the Geneva 1 Communique (stop the fighting and achieve a cessation of armed violence, the release of arbitrarily detained women and men, freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists, respect for freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully). To this, we add: release the women and men who have been abducted by the various armed groups.
2. Lift the siege and allow for the timely provision of humanitarian and medical aid to all affected regions, under the supervision of an independent commission with international oversight.
3. Implement an immediate ceasefire as a first step towards the permanent cessation of military operations. This can be achieved by relying upon mutually reinforcing negotiation tracks at local, national and international levels, with the robust participation of Syrian civil society.
4. Call upon the United Nations Security Council to support the efforts of the UN Arab League Joint Mission, by authorizing the appointment and deployment of negotiators, observers and peacekeepers, as needed.
5. Take immediate measures to stop gender-based violence as per UN Security Council Resolutions 1820 1888, 1960; adopt gender-sensitive policies and protect women and girls against sexual exploitation, early marriage, human trafficking, and rape.
6. Cooperate with neighboring states and secure international guarantees to ensure the expulsion of all non-Syrian combatants.
7. Put an end to all arbitrary detentions, court rulings, and administrative decisions, and lift all travel restrictions on activists and politicians so as to assure their freedom of movement.
8. Ensure the safe and dignified return of all refugees and internally displaced people to their former cities and places of residence, with provisions for compensation, family reunification, and guaranteeing gender equality in this process.
9. Put an immediate end to the recruitment of child soldiers as per UN Security Council resolutions 1261, 1612, and 1882. Immediately establish a national education program that suspends all ideological curricula and which adopts modern unified curricula that respect human rights, the equality of citizens regardless of gender, and which addresses the issue of children who have been unable to attend school.
10. Demand the lifting of economic sanctions on the Syrian people immediately upon signing of the agreement between the parties and the launching of a transitional process. This demand does not include the lifting of sanctions imposed on individuals and private corporations.
11. Dismantle all arbitrary tribunals, terror-related courts, as well as sharia commissions, and reinstate civil law throughout Syria.
12. Develop a national plan that protects vulnerable structures, including economic, security, administrative and cultural sites, as well as the country’s infrastructure.
13. Take measures to secure all official records and documentation in cooperation with appropriate civil society organizations.
14. Restructure and reform security and police institutions in line with international norms of human rights and gender sensitivity.
15. Bring to justice and render accountable the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and launch the process of transitional justice.
Success of Geneva II is the Responsibility of all Parties
The Syrian Women’s Initiative for Peace and Democracy (SWIPD) welcomes UN Security Council’s Resolution 2139, which calls for the delivery of humanitarian aid into the besieged areas in Syria. We hope that Res. 2139 is a serious step toward resolving the catastrophic humanitarian situation in which all Syrians – children, women, and men – are living.
As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate beyond the capacity of any international organizations concerned with humanitarian, human rights, and refugee affairs, we underscore the importance of the international community’s role in monitoring the situation to ensure full implementation of the resolution…Read More.
The Initiative of Syrian Women for Peace and Democracy
The first round of Geneva 2 negotiations on the future of Syria concluded, and the second one has started. Syria has been drenched in blood for over two years with tragic humanitarian conditions, masses of martyrs and victims, destruction and siege, starvation, detention, abduction, and extremism.
Although this round of peace talks did not fulfil the aspirations of the Syrian people nor did it mitigate the indescribable suffering of Syrians, we consider it a first step in the delicate path to achieving peace and embarking on the democratic transitional process…Read More.