Syrian Human Rights Defenders to the United Nations Human Rights Council:
Stop Spiral of Violence against Women in Syria!
Geneva/Brussels/Damascus, 3 March 2014 – As the 25th session of the HRC starts today in Geneva, a coalition of Syrian rights groups supported by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies warn of spiraling violence against women in Syria and call for an end to impunity for those who commit these atrocities.
In a written intervention to the Human Rights Council, a coalition of Syrian and international rights groups reveal how Syrian women have increasingly become military targets and are used as weapons of war in violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and key international principles pertaining to the protection of women in times of conflict.
Women represent a high proportion of casualties during military operations and are deliberately targeted by snipers’ shots or during massacres. They are also exposed to torture and sexual harassment when detained at the hands of government forces or armed groups. The document stresses how large-scale human rights violations and international crimes in Syria have severely impacted the lives of Syrian women and created a context ripe for many forms of violence against women.
“The Human Rights Council should clearly and firmly call upon the Security Council to initiate a genuine process of accountability in Syria for perpetrators of international crimes, including all forms of violence against women”, said the organizations. “Member states in the Council should support a gender sensitive Syrian-led transitional justice process, and take urgent measures to address the critical need for protection of women, as well as the rehabilitation of victims.”
The written intervention also reflects the extreme concern of the organizations for the fate of all persons detained in Syria, in particular women and children. At a time of renewed attempts for a political compromise that would end violence in Syria, the organizations urge all parties involved directly and indirectly in the conflict to grant absolute priority to the release of all persons arbitrarily detained.
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