Ahead of official peace talks to end the war in Syria, women peace activists are convening in Switzerland as part of a global campaign, Women Lead to Peace. The campaign calls for an immediate ceasefire, the increase of humanitarian aid delivery to victims of conflict, and the crucial participation of Syrian women in the peace talks scheduled to commence on January 22, 2014.
After three years of war that has resulted in over 130, 000 deaths and humanitarian disaster for millions of Syrians, delegates will meet for the Geneva II peace conference. However, the inclusion of women in the peace negotiations has been overlooked. A global coalition of women's groups is mobilizing to ensure that the demands of Syrian women are reflected in the negotiations.
As part of the Women Lead to Peace Summit in Switzerland, women from Syria are sharing their experiences of war and solutions for peace. Humanitarian aid workers and women leaders from around the world, including Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, are also offering their strategies in transitioning a country from war to peace.
Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, today said, "Our message is simple yet vital: there can be no lasting peace without women. Women have been at the heart of the non-violent, pro-democracy movement. With their leadership and close ties to grassroots communities, Syrian women can ensure that this peace process responds to the people's needs, not just to the demands of armed groups."
The Women Lead to Peace Campaign is led by MADRE, CODEPINK, Women International League for Peace and Freedom, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, Karama, and the Nobel Women's Initiative.
The full schedule of the Summit is available here.
A full list of endorsers is available here.
For more information, click here to read MADRE's Q & A on the Prospects for Peace and Women's Human Rights in Syria.
Available for interview:
Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, works with women's human rights activists from Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, creating programs to address violence against women, economic development, climate change, armed conflict and more.
Lisa Davis, Esq., MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director, provides litigation and advocacy services for women's human rights organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.