The conflict in Syria has been described as “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.” According to The United Nations 6.2 million Syrians are internally displaced and 5.6 million Syrians are refugees in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.
The conflict entered its tenth year in 2020 which has seen the Syrian population’s continued suffering, with the additional threat of Covid-19.
LAW’s Syria Programme
In October, LAW and it’s partner EuroMed Feminist Initiative (EFI) commenced a Syria programme. EFI focus on increasing women’s participation in decision making whilst LAW works with survivor associations, survivors of human rights violations and improving the ability of Syrian lawyers to address those violations and abuses.
In December, LAW and EFI held two workshops in Turkey and Lebanon bringing together 75 Syrian lawyers and activists. During the workshop participants discussed gendered crimes and conflict related sexual violence; how victims of human rights violations can increase their access to justice and how they can have their voices heard in national, regional and international forums.
Participants engaged in thought-provoking discussion about the role of religion in gender discrimination and brainstormed solutions to housing, land and property issues.
One participant said “I was inspired by hearing about the stories of the Gambia vs Myanmar case at the ICJ relating to the Rohingya. I thought if it can be done for the Rohingya, then surely it can be done for Syrians.”
A number of delegates from member states participated in the final session of the roundtable in Lebanon. One of the delegates noted that it was an important opportunity to work on a collective action plan for legal change and was impressed by the bravery of the Syrian lawyers and activists present.