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Arria-formula Meeting on the participation of women in the resolution of the Syrian Conflict

Published Friday January 17 2014

Together with the United Kingdom, Luxembourg organised an “Arria-formula” meeting on the issue of “the participation of women in the resolution of the Syrian Conflict” in order to sensitise the Security Council to the importance of ensuring the participation of Syrian women in the peace process. Less than a week before the foreseen beginning of the Montreux and Geneva conferences, the time was ripe to recall that the Security Council has made the participation of women in mediation efforts and the political transition process a central element of the “Women and Peace and Security” agenda. In her introduction, Ambassador Sylvie Lucas stressed that one cannot wait for peace to be fully restored, the foundations of the rule of law to be established, and renewed administrative structures to be in place to consider women’s rights. “These rights must be taken into account from the get-go of the mediation process and peace negotiations,” she underlined.

Three Syrian women, representing civil society organisations working for women’s empowerment, had been invited to share their experiences of the situation of women in Syria and express their expectations with regard to the coming peace process. The three Syrian women have thus been able to inform the Security Council about their participation in the conference in Geneva held from 11 to 13 January 2014 under the aegis of UN-WOMEN and the outcome document that was adopted. Under the title of the “Initiative of Syrian Women for Peace and Democracy”, this document calls, inter alia, for a quota of 30% for women in all delegations and at every stage of transitional governance. The document also requests that gender experts and advisers be included in the mediation teams. Finally, the Syrian women activists asked the concerned Security Council Members to mention the issue of women in their opening statements at the Geneva II Conference to be held on 22 January 2014.

At the interactive debate which followed the presentations of the three panellists, the Members of the Security Council supported the demands of the three Syrian representatives for the inclusion of women in delegations and in more general terms in the political transition process.

The Security Council meeting was followed by a press conference.