Syrian refugees in Iraq, August 2013.
Global Fund for Women is appalled by the horrific violence, including the use of chemical weapons, in Syria. To date, the civil war has left more than 100,000 dead, displaced over six million, and made refugees of one million children.
In Syria, like in most conflicts, women and girls are subjected to human rights violations including torture, violence, and sexual assault, as deliberate weapons of war. As we witness the spillover of violence into neighboring countries, we have to remember that war and militarism disproportionately impact women and children. Whether inside their war-torn country, displaced while seeking refuge, or in the makeshift camps they reach after many hardships, women and children are constantly under the threat of sexual violence and rape.
More violence is not the solution. In solidarity with our sisters at MADRE and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, we implore the United States and its allies to engage in peaceful political dialogue, to put pressure on armed actors to implement a ceasefire, and stop the flow of weapons into Syria. Military intervention is not the answer.
Decades of funding women-led organizations in conflict and post-conflict regions have taught us that building a robust civil society depends on respecting and protecting women’s human rights and supporting women-led organizations. It is only through this critical inclusion that conflict will be resolved and human lives spared.
While Syrian women did not choose to go to war, their voices and leadership around building peace must be front and center; they must have decision-making authority.
By strengthening women’s leadership – including movements to protect women’s basic human rights and activists who document and address violations – we can meet the critical need for peaceful transition in Syria.