The International Conference “Gender-sensitive transitional justice process in Syria” organized by EuroMed Feminist Initiative, in collaboration with the Syrian Feminist Lobby, took place on the 20th and 21st of February 2019 in Paris, France, in the frame of the program Toward Sustainable Peace and Democracy in Syria Through Strengthening Civil Society and Women Rights funded by Sweden.
The conference aimed to address the challenges and opportunities for the recognition of gender-based violence, for accountability of the perpetrators and for the inclusion of women in the transitional justice process in Syria.
The conference was opened by Ms.Lama Kannout, SFL Executive Director, and Ms. Lilian Halls-French, EFI Co-President. It gathered Syrian women’s human rights activists, academics, and researchers, International experts of transitional justice coming from the Balkans, the MENA region and South America, as well as representatives of International organizations engaged in the transitional justice process and focusing on the Syrian cases. For example, Ms. Michelle Jarvis, Deputy Head of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIM), Mr. Fabian Salvioli, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence and Mr. Florian Razesberger, Chief Analyst at the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, who shared their engagement and commitment to a gender-sensitive transitional justice in Syria.
Ms.Lama Kannout, Executive Director of Syrian Feminist Lobby
Mr. Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur, OHCHR.
"It is impossible to work in Human Rights without Women Rights, It is Impossible to work in Human Rights without a Feminist Approach, It is Impossible to be a good person without a Feminist Approach, As a Feminist Approach is Equality" Mr. Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur, OHCHR.
During two days, questions about an effective transitional justice process in Syria, and ways to implement gender-oriented policies were raised. Former experiences of countries such as Ex-Yugoslavia were shared and discussed, with the sole purpose of finding common grounds to better the representation of women in decision-making bodies.
Legal experts shared their knowledge on how to address war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and other human rights violations. The aim was to build a strategic vision to ensure that justice, peace, democracy, and gender equality work effectively together.
Ms. Joumana Seif, Syrian Lawyer, and Human Right Defender
"Testimonies showed that 98% of women were used for revenge in Syria.", Ms. Joumana Seif, Syrian Lawyer, and Human Right Defender
Through the debates, recurrent issues and elements were raised such as the impossibility of a transitional justice without the political change of the Syrian regime, the participation of CSOs in memorization and justice mechanisms, the current situation of Syrian detainees and forced disappearance, as well as the fight against gender inequality through a thorough study of the Syrian society.
To tackle these issues, the participants discussed different strategies, from the sociological approach implemented in the roots, to the legal one through the constitution and national laws.
The conference was held in English and Arabic.