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.
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

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid