The Syrian Women’s Political Movement event in United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, 67th session
- updated: March 14, 2023
The Syrian Women’s Political Movement held, under the sponsorship of the permanent missions of Albania, Canada, the Delegation of the European Union, France, Germany, Malta, Sweden, and the United States a side event on the sidelines of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women,entitled: “Women, Religion, and Freedom.” The event was attended by a number of state representatives, United Nations diplomats, international non-governmental organisations and Syrian feminist politicians. The speakers in the session are: movement member Lina Wafai, Iranian feminist activist Marjane Nashat, and Tunisian feminist Ahlam Busriol. The session was moderated by the movement’s executive director, Alma Salem.
The event began with a minute of silence for the souls of the victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey, and a video in honor of the late founding member of the movement, Dr. Basma Qadmani. Speakers and sponsors presented their views and observations, perspectives of interest to the movement were exchanged during the event with the eight countries that sponsored the event, followed by an open floor session.
The event highlighted the voices of Iranian, Syrian and Tunisian women leaders, drawing on their experiences in the search for a secular state based on equal citizenship, the challenges and opportunities they face in their pursuit of gender equality by separating religion from the state.
During the session, a video of their messages and their faces from The wave exhibition curated by Alma Salem were as well presented. This exhibition comes many years after the wave of the Arab Spring revolutions and looks at its repercussions on the current Syrian feminist wave. It also touches on the impact of the Syrian women’s political movement five years after its founding in breaking the stereotype regarding women’s positions, and in moving that wave towards realising the presence of women in public affairs and at the political decision table.
The Syrian Women’s Political Movement also held, from the eighth to the tenth of March, a number of bilateral meetings in New York City, on the sidelines of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Session 67 (CSW67), with a number of permanent missions to the United Nations. For each of the following countries: France, Iceland and UK, who expressed their interest in hearing directly from Syrian women and exchanging ideas on how to cooperate for the sake of Syria and focusing on the role of the movement and women in political action, especially since a country like Iceland is considered one of the leaders in feminist foreign policy. The movement also met with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations for Political Affairs and Peacebuilding, Rose Marie Di Carlo, SWPM met with the peace and security team from UN Woman, as well as the expert of the OCHA organisation in the United Nations and the manager of the Syrian file, Mr. Keith Stansky.
The movement attended an event of the Euro-Mediterranean Feminist Initiative on education and violence against women. The Syrian Women’s Political Movement was represented in these meetings by its members, Lina Wafai and Mariam Jalabi.
These meetings aimed at exchanging views on the Syrian situation politically, especially after the catastrophe of the earthquake and its political effects, and at conveying the voice of the Syrian women participating in the national consultations project.
Among the most important topics covered during these meetings:
- The need to find a comprehensive political solution in Syria, especially after the catastrophe of the devastating earthquake, and the concerns of the regime’s rehabilitation and its control over the crossings after they were opened with its approval.
- The responsibility of the international community and the world for the number of victims and affected by the earthquake disaster, the need for accountability and reconsider the mechanisms of the United Nations’ work in disasters, and to study the reasons that led to the delay in emergency response, so that political obstacles and bureaucratic management are overcome, in order to be able to intervene quickly in the future to avoid the occurrence of other victims.
- avoid granting the regime legitimacy in the Security Council, and to beware of the influence of the Security Council on the decision of humanitarian crossings in the future.
- Focus on the fact that the earthquake is a natural disaster that came on top of a systematic political disaster from the regime, which destroyed Syria, and that the earthquake is considered a priority now because it is doubly catastrophic, because there is no political ground through which to work due to the intractability of a solution with the suppressive Syrian regime and its lack of response to the international community.
- The need for international monitoring committees to supervise the distribution of humanitarian aid in Syria, to ensure that it reaches those who deserve it and is not controlled by the Syrian regime.
- The need for international committees to enter to reveal the fate of the detainees and the forcibly disappeared.
- The catastrophic impact of the earthquake on women in particular, and the need to take into account their special needs in distributing aid.
- The catastrophic impact of the earthquake on civil society, on activists on the ground, and the need to provide support for women’s and feminist initiatives.
- Conveying the opinion of Syrian women and defining the movement’s political papers.
- The importance of the political role of Syrian women, the need to activate Resolution 1325, and a request to support the presence of Syrian women politically and in decision-making positions by supporting a women’s quota of no less than 30% in all aspects of the political process in Syria.
To visit the “Wave” exhibition virtually: