On the twenty-fifth of every year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is marked, as established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981. This day commemorates the tragic event of the assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, who fought against the dictator Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in 1960.
Commemorating this international day is an occasion to limit and end the existing violence against women, which is a vital necessity. Globally, we witness an escalation of various forms of violence against women, ranging from customs, traditions, legal discrimination, and unjust legislation, influenced by wars and conflicts that pervade the region. This extends women’s exposure to violence within society and the family, the most widespread and prevalent worldwide, perpetrated by male-dominated dictatorial regimes.
This Day is considered as a call to eliminate and end the phenomenon of violence against women, which is deeply existing within societies. It has become a tool for maintaining power, amid the escalating forms of this affliction in its various manifestations in the world.
As we commemorate this occasion, we must recognize the exceptional circumstances faced by women in Syria, twelve years into the crisis, coinciding with the increasing intensity of violence due to the repercussions of Syrian events. This has affected Syrian women and others in this region, with its consequences on women being multiplied exponentially. Since birth, Syrian women have faced violence in various forms due to discriminatory laws and practices, starting from societal subordination, the current conflict’s impact on power, the proliferation of extremist and terrorist groups, displacement, poverty, economic deterioration, unemployment, rape, sexual assaults, and psychological humiliation. All of these matters occur in the absence of a political resolution or prospects for ending this devastating war.
Based on this, rates of violence against women in all its forms have increased during the years of the war since 2011. Kidnapping, forced disappearance, murder, torture, arbitrary detention, and captivity have been the most heinous forms endured by Syrian women. Syrian women have faced the worst kinds of physical, sexual, and psychological torture, violating their dignity and femininity in the prisons and detention centers.
Nowadays, we must not forget the suffering of Syrian women in the occupied areas under the control of terrorist groups in Afrin, Azaz, Sere Kaniye, Tel Abyad, al-Bab, Idlib, and displacement camps. They endure the ugliest forms of persecution and crimes that amount to war crimes and genocide. Women are abducted, sold, and slaughtered under the name of honor and the fatwas of extremists, Takfiris, and the courts of Turkish occupation.
Despite this, we should not overlook the pioneering and historical role of women in the Syrian Revolution. They have contributed significantly in various political and military fields, exemplified by martyrs like Hevrin Khalaf and Barin Kobani. Their sacrifice was for building a free, democratic society based on social justice and equality between men and women.
We, as the Women’s Coordination of Political Parties in the SDC, express our appreciation for the efforts and steadfast struggle of Syrian women. Also, we condemn violence against women in all its forms. We urge the international community, human rights organizations, democratic powers, and feminist figures to unite through national mechanisms and fulfill their duties towards unjust practices that women are exposed to. They should work to hold accountable anyone violating democratic values, freedom, and equality based on international laws. We also salute the sacrifices of women worldwide and their continuous struggle in all fields to obtain their rights fully, with a special mention of Syrian women who have endured tremendous hardships during the Syrian crisis.
We call on all women worldwide to collaborate closely, unify their efforts, and continue their struggle to break the silence against the violence perpetrated against them.
On November 25, 2023
Women’s Coordination of Political Parties in the SDC