New Hivos partner: Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace

March 21, 2013

Hivos welcomes the establishment of the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace (SWFP), which aims to strengthen the role of Syrian women in forging peace in Syria and push Syrian and international public opinion to ensure that decision-makers adopt peaceful means in building a democratic state in Syria.

Convened by Hivos partner Karama, this is a first initiative of its kind. More than forty Syrian women – civil leaders from all walks of social and political life – convened a conference in Cairo to launch this Forum and create a strategic plan to engage key individuals and organisations to help the conflict in Syria arrive at a just and peaceful solution.

“This Forum can be considered the first peace movement to be established in Syria. It emerged from the belief that politics should not use violence for any purpose. We also strongly believe that violence will not bring us democracy. Peace-building is the only way to achieve democracy and development, and to realise full rights for women as well,“ said Mouna Ghanem, organiser of the Syrian Women’s Peace Forum.

The three-day conference initiated by Karama enabled participants to forge a united vision for the role Syrian women in all spheres of public life will play, especially those involved in fighting the violence spreading through the country. The Forum aims to elevate peace as a universal value for all Syrians and promote the idea of non-violence as means to achieve political change in Syria.  

Its objectives are to:

  • promote women’s representation and participation in Syrian transition, democracy-building  and peacemaking processes;
  • help Syrian women organise a collective voice and fully participate in public life;
  • ensure that women rights and needs are integrated across humanitarian, political, and socio-economic sectors;
  • build an effective civil society coalition to promote women’s empowerment in Syria.

It has participated in several major conferences regarding future transitional processes for Syria and the important role women have in them.  Their delegates attended the 57th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and the European Leftist Conference on Peace for Syria in Istanbul in March 2013.

The Forum is becoming an essential actor in the transition process of Syria, which is why Hivos has decided to support the Forum, to a large extent because it has proven to be essential to promote women’s participation in the democratisation process as soon as possible. Hivos believes that the Forum can give Syrian women a voice in these processes.