The Syrian Woman…. A Society’s Shattered Half
Soruce: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
SNHR has released a report entitled: “The Syrian Woman… A Society’s Shattered Half” on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The report documents the most notable violations against Syrian women by the parties to the conflict in Syria since March 2011.
The report notes that the heinous violations that have been perpetrated against women and girls in Syria amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Nonetheless, the report adds, no forms of international protections have been considered for them, as the Security Council has failed to fulfill its role in providing safety and security, and all the rounds of negotiations are yet to reveal the fate of one missing woman.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, says:
“In many cases, the Syrian woman and the Syrian girl have been the subject of various types of violations. Many of these cumulative violations haven’t been remedied, nor met with their due consideration and care on the various political and social levels, or in the media and in the United Nations. The state parties to The CEDAW treaty need to help the Syrian woman, and stand up to perpetrators of violations against women in light of the Security Council’s failure to do so.”
The report outlines the toll of violations against females in Syria from March 2011 to November 2017. The report sheds light as well on the most notable violations between November 25, 2016 and November 25, 2017 in particular in addition to a number of incidents that occurred in 2015 and 2016. The report draws upon the ongoing monitoring for incidents and news by SNHR team and an extensive network of relations with tens of various sources. The report includes seven accounts that have been acquired through speaking directly to witnesses, where they are not taken from open sources.
The report documents the killing of no less than 24,746 females at the hands of the parties to the conflict in Syria from March 2011 to November 2017, divided into 13,344 adult females and 11,402 female children. The report stresses that the Syrian regime is responsible for 84.53% of all deaths compared to the other parties to the conflict, as we recorded that no less than 20,919 females have been killed by Syrian regime forces, including 310 who suffocated to death in approximately 207 chemical attacks.
According to the report, Russian forces killed no less than 988 females, while Kurdish Self-Management forces were responsible for the killing of 136 females at least. In addition, 573 females were killed by ISIS, while no less than 74 females were killed by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham.
The report adds that factions from the armed opposition were responsible for the killing of 889 females, while international coalition forces killed no less than 611 females. Lastly, the report records that 556 females were killed by other parties.
The report notes that no less than 6,736 females are still under arbitrary arrest or forcibly-disappeared inside the official and non-official Syrian regime detention centers as of November 2017. Out of those, 41 women (adult female) have died due to torture between March 2011 and November 2017.
The report adds that no less than 257 females are still under arbitrary arrest or forcibly-disappeared inside detention centers belonging to the Kurdish Self-Management forces, including two women who died due to torture and poor medical care. ISIS, on the other hand, arrested no less than 337 females, including 13 females who died due to torture, while the report records that 65 females are still under arbitrary arrest or forcibly-disappeared inside the detention centers of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham. Lastly, armed opposition factions arrested 894 females.
The report stresses that Syrian regime forces used sexual violence as a method of warfare and as a strategic weapon to submit the will of the Syrian people and terrorize the people. Usually, this goes hand-in-hand with raiding, killing, abduction, and arbitrary arrest. Also, ISIS enslaved females – mainly ones who are part of religious and ethnic minorities, and, secondly, females from territories belonging to other parties. Women live under extremely restrictive regulations imposed by the group who specified special requirements and conditions for leaving the house, work, and even travel, which has completely isolated women from the society.
The report stresses that all parties to the conflict have perpetrated serious violations against females in Syria. However, the Syrian regime has, deliberately and systemically, perpetrated the majority of these violations since 2011. Its barbarian practices has torn its ratification to CEDAW and Geneva Conventions, which means that all of the ratifying states should intervene and put an end to these practices in accordance with Article 1 of Geneva Conventions, which requires that not only the states are to respect the conventions, but also should ensure respect for the Conventions, as well as CIDAW and Security Council Resolution 1352 which binds the state parties -most of the states of the world- to ensure holding the perpetrators of violations to the agreement and the Resolution accountable no matter who they are (the Syrian and Russian regimes, Kurdish forces, extremist groups, armed opposition, international coalition forces). Also, these instruments demand that state parties provide support for women’s medical, psychological social, and economic needs, and ensure their involvement in peace talks.
The report calls on the Syrian regime to lift its reservations with regard to CEDAW, and immediately cease the acts of deliberate killing, torture, and arrest against the Syrian women. Furthermore, the report calls on the Syrian-Russian alliance and the Iranian militias and their affiliates to stop deliberately bombing civilian residential neighborhoods and populated areas which results in targeting victims who are mostly women and children. On the other hand, the report calls on the international coalition to investigate the incidents that resulted in the death of female victims in particular, and apply pressure on its ally, Syrian Democratic Forces, to cease recruiting girls and put an end to the practices of abduction and arrest.
The report calls on all of the parties to the conflict to immediately release female detainees, especially those who were arrested in the context of the armed conflict, and to adhere to the international laws on detaining female children. The report stresses the protection of the Syrian woman have been detached from the Syrian regime’s responsibility since 2011, seeing that the Syrian regime is the party who perpetrates the most violations against the Syrian woman, as this now is the Security Council’s responsibility. Therefore, all possible steps should be taken in order to protect the woman and the Syrian people. At the very least, pressure should be applied on the Syrian regime in order to have international observers, including the Commission of Inquiry, visit women’s detention centers with no restrictions or conditions.