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9 Years of Devastating Conflict: A Role for Civil Society in the Pursuit of Sustainable Peace in Syria
As the conflict in Syria approaches its tenth anniversary and the political conversation remains in deadlock, Syrians continue their struggle for a gleam of hope for peace and justice amid all these difficulties. The United Nations Special Envoy continues his effort to reconcile warring parties and involve Syrian civil society actors in the peace talks. In the meantime, Syrian civil society is striving to envision solutions to complex undertakings that are indispensable for the success of any peace talks or transition in Syria. First, Syrian civil society continues to struggle to find a comprehensive solution for the issue of detention as a prerequisite for any transition; this is also connected to the larger topic of justice and accountability that has not been meaningfully addressed in these talks. Second, the issues of Syrian women remain one of the most challenging undertakings of Syrian civil society. Syrian women continue to endure the heaviest burden with pre-existed inequalities exacerbated during the conflict; despite the disproportionate economic, legal, social, and political impact of the Syrian conflict on women, their participation in civil society and peace talks remains limited, and gender issues have not been incorporated across all peace talks. Third, Syrian civil society practitioners, particularly lawyers, are faced with vexing questions about how to ensure that internally and externally displaced people can still enjoy the right to a dignified return in light of the rapidly implemented legal measures that undermine their ability to return to their homes. In addition to these important issues, Syrian civil society faces practical and logistical difficulties including a lack of funding and restrictions on their registration and movement. In short, sustainable peace in Syria depends on a sustainable civil society, as does the fate of detainees, women, and displaced populations.
Please join our UNGA side event to learn about the way forward for strengthening Syrian civil society as a step towards achieving sustainable peace, justice, and gender equality in Syria.