The peace talks to bring a political settlement to the war in Syria have been postponed yet again. In the interim, the slaughter of civilians continues. There will be thousands more deaths as winter encroaches, and as humanitarian aid fails to reach the most vulnerable. Those deaths will be mainly women and children.
Yet, still women are kept out of the peace talks, as if their stake in their future and the future of their country is somehow less important than the voices of the men with the guns. The international community must recognize its legal obligations, moral responsibilities and the practical necessity to ensure women’s participation: peace treaties without women do not work. If women are not a part of peace negotiations, then the peace will reflect only the interests of the most powerful and will ultimately fail.
Women have been organizing, through an inclusive and representative process, and they are prepared to participate in negotiation. Instead, they are told by the United Nations that the political situation is complicated. Women already know that. Yet, they are told that they should look for alternative models and lobby mediators in corridors.
This is untenable and wrong. We must join our Syrian sisters in raising our voices, so that Syrian women are not just included but have a real role in deciding the future of their country.
Please join in signing this petition and calling for the inclusion of Syrian women’s leadership in the Geneva II negotiations and beyond.