Women’s Participation in the Syrian Peace Process

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Women’s Participation in the Syrian Peace Process

Women have shouldered the brunt of the violent conflict in Syria. Virtually half of the Syrian internally displaced and refugees are women.

Amidst the chaos brought about by the five-year-old conflict, Syrian women have risen in the local level as:

  • Negotiators for securing local-level ceasefires and release of prisoners
  • Distributors and monitors of humanitarian aid
  • Organizers of safe spaces for women and children
  • Documenters of human rights abuses

In the article called “Leveraging leadership among Syrian women—a strong constituency for peace,” Hiba Qasas, program advisor and head of the Arab States Section for UN Women, wrote, “Since the beginning of the crisis, Syrian women have been inspiring examples in their resilience and determination.”

“They started organizing at the community level in relation to humanitarian needs, forming networks and coalitions in response,” the program advisor and head of the Arab States Section for UN Women stressed.

In the United Nations-mediated peace talks for Syria, women have made progress.

Three of the 15 members of the Syrian Government negotiating panel are women.

Three of the 15 members of the negotiating panel of the Opposition, also known as the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), are women. In addition, two of the 34 members of the HNC are women, and 20 to 25 women advise the HNC delegation on women’s issues and present recommendations.

Twelve Syrian women, under the body called “Syrian Women’s Advisory Board” and one international gender advisor, articulate women’s concerns and ideas on topics discussed during the talks, and present their recommendations to the UN mediator, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.

The Syrian Women’s Advisory Board was established in early 2016 after the UN Mediator heeded the call from various sectors for a greater participation of women in the UN-mediated Syrian peace talks.

A statistical analysis by Laurel Stone showed that out of the 182 signed peace agreements worldwide between 1989 and 2011, an agreement is 35% more likely to last at least 15 years if women participate in its creation.

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