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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid