In the framework of the project “Supporting transition towards democracy in Syria through preparing for an engendered constitution building process” co-funded by the EU and Sweden; Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI arranged an exchange trip to the European Union for a delegation of Syrian lawyers and constitutional experts in February 2016 in Brussels, Belgium.
Among the objectives of the exchange trip was to learn about European gender equality foreign policy and gender mainstreaming in law and constitution. This was the main topic during the visit to the Council for Equal Opportunities between Men and Women and the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men.
The trip also aimed at sharing the analyses and updates of the situation in Syria and shed light on the engagement of human rights lawyers and constitutional experts for political solution of the conflict and transition towards democracy, inclusive of gender equality and women’s rights. Other meetings were held with DROI – Human Rights Subcommittee, EEAS European External Action Service and AFCO – Constitutional Affairs.
Exchange of the challenges and good practices of institutionalization of gender equality in this transitional phase also took place during the meeting with EU committees for Security and Defence, Constitutional Affairs and Delegation to the Mashreq Countries.
On Feb 17th, the handbook "ABC for a Gender Sensitive Constitution" was presented at the European Parliament during the regular session of FEMM - Women's Rights and Gender Equality committee, where discussions took place on the importance and ways of gender mainstreaming of all transitional and constitution building processes and in Syria already now. This handbook is the first of its sort and is a result of a fruitful collaboration between the Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI, researchers, and activists from Syria, Europe and the Maghreb. It was written by Silvia Suteu, a constitutional law researcher at the University of Edinburgh and Ibrahim Draji, professor in international law at Damascus University. The process was supported by a reference group composed of constitutional experts, lawyers, researchers and women’s rights activists and experts.
The trip gave visibility to the democratic movement acting for women’s rights and gender equality as a needed component of any democratic process.
Dr. Ibrahim Draji, Dr. Silvia Suteu presenting the ABC handbook