News / Middle East

Syrian Women Tell Brahimi They Want Role in Peace Talks

FILE - Arab League-United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference after a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Dec. 20, 2013.
FILE - Arab League-United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference after a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Dec. 20, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Syrian women's groups said on Monday they want international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to give them a role in peace talks that are expected to begin next week.
 
They said women should make up at least 30 percent of all negotiating teams in the Geneva 2 talks, due to begin in Switzerland on Jan. 22, on ending the war in Syria.
 
Their demands include ensuring that any eventual constitution should guarantee equal citizenship to the Syrian people “in all their diversity and affiliations” and guarantee equality of men and women, penalizing all forms of discrimination and violence against women.
 
Four representatives of the Syrian women's groups will meet Brahimi on Tuesday to talk about how to put the demands into practice, having already consulted him, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women.
 
“His message was that as long as these are the demands of the Syrian women and they are coherent and they agree, he will take it forward,” she told Reuters.
 
The four women were elected from 47 women who drafted the demands in a three-day meeting in Geneva, a group that included representatives of Syrian women inside and outside the country.
 
“I think we can say that we represent the majority, inside the country and abroad,” said Sabah Alhallak, one of the four.
 
She said women's groups had been working on principles for a new constitution since 2011, having how seen the issue had been opened up in other “Arab Spring” revolutions.
 
“Women were looking at what happened in Tunisia and Egypt and Libya and there were a lot of lessons to prepare ourselves and see what was coming our way,” Alhallak said.
 
Another of the four, Kefah ali Deeb, said the most pressing issue was to get detainees released from prison, which she said received little media attention.
 
“Do you believe that it is more important for you to cover how one of the Islamic groups has invaded a region rather than talk about the hundreds of thousands of people who are dying in prison?
 
“We have to withdraw this card from their hand. The case of the detainees - our families and friends and neighbors who are detained - is more important than all political cards,” Deeb said.
 
She told Reuters that the death rate in some prisons, such as Military Security Branch 215 in Damascus, had reached 30 a day, mainly due to torture or malnourishment.
 
Another priority was breaking the sieges which were driving stranded populations to starvation.
 
“If I tell you that there are children who are eating the leaves off the trees, you have to believe me. This is not my imagination.”
 
Rafif Jouejati, another of the four representatives and spokeswoman for the local coordination committees in Syria, said that if Geneva 2 failed, the women's groups would push for peace at Geneva 3, 4 or 5.
 
“We are lawyers and engineers and professors, we are housewives and nurses and other medical professionals, we are 50 percent of society,” she said.
 
“If Geneva 2 doesn't work, we will push the men who are making war to make peace.”

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid