Press Releases The Syrian Women’s Political Movement Statement UN Report on Sexual Violence in Syria

The Syrian Women’s Political Movement Statement UN Report on Sexual Violence in Syria

The Syrian Women’s Political Movement Statement

UN Report on Sexual Violence in Syria

On 15 March – the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution – the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Syria presented its report on sexual and gender-based violence in Syria. The report, which examined the perpetration of sexual and gender-based violence by parties since the uprising in March 2011 and through December 2017, clearly highlighted how the Syrian regime and militias affiliated therewith perpetrated sexual and gender-based violence on a systematic basis against thousands of women, girls, men and boys. The CoI made clear that the regime bears the greatest responsibility for these acts which amount to crimes against humanity.

Commenting on the report, the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM) states that, as clearly set out in the UN report, these horrendous crimes were part of a clear strategy to instill fear and humiliation, and punish all those perceived by the Syrian regime as opposition members and sympathisers. Such crimes were not only committed in detention centres but also during ground operations, house raids, and at checkpoints. Many other civilians today continue to face the same dangers. Without robust international action to protect the civilians, it would be difficult to argue that thousands of more young girls, women, boys and men would not face the same horrors as outlined in the UN report.

The innocent civilians who have suffered the widespread and systematic crimes perpetrated by the Syrian regime, suffer today from the health and psychological consequences of these crimes. We may never be able to fully heal the wounds of this ‘lost generation’ of Syrians. However, we can still save many others from experiencing the same fate if international law, norms and standards are for once enforced in Syria.

In parallel, the international community must pursue all possible avenues to ensure that all those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria would be held accountable. This is a key component of any successful and lasting political solution.

Against this background, the SWPM calls on the international community to:

  • Take all necessary and immediate measures to implement international conventions that provide for the protection of all civilians – in particular women and children – against the horrendous crimes the Syrian regime and its allies are committing in all Syrian territories;
  • Pressuring the Syrian regime, directly or through its allies, to release all arbitrarily detained persons, in particular those whom the regime detained for political and humanitarian activism; and disclose the fate of the disappeared;
  • Support all options for pursuing accountability, individually through universal and national jurisdiction and jointly by establishing an ad hoc tribunal through the UN General Assembly to prosecute war criminals.

The Syrian Women’s Movement is an independent, political movement composed of female political activists who struggled against the tyrannical Assad regime. The Movement demands freedom, justice and dignity for all Syrian citizens as it defends the rights of women and their right to representation in all Syrian institutions.

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