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107 Syrian Organizations Call on the EU to Promote Inclusive Approach to Syrian Issues

Signatories express disappointment at the neglect of urgent issues and the marginalization of regions and communities during the VII Brussels Conference 2023.

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The European Union organized a Seventh Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ on 14 and 15 June 2023, in Brussels. The conference addressed critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians in Syria and neighboring countries.

Syrian participants– as individuals and organizations – and those who failed to attend due to logistical difficulties were looking forward to a more inclusive edition of the Conference reflecting the Syrian diversity. They were disappointed to see low levels of effective local representation on the Day of Dialogue. Those following up to the Conference also saw the marginalization and exclusion of many local organizations and groups, and made observations in this regard, to name a few,

  • It was evident that there was a deliberate ignoring and dodging to address issues of vital importance to northeastern areas and other Syrian parts. There was a lack of representation of northeastern and regime-held areas as well as some neighboring countries. Actually, no speaker was identified to speak up about the suffering of northeastern Syria’s population and advocate for the local communities urgent and priority issues.
  • The naming of the first day as the “Day of Dialogue” indicates that there would be a direct dialogue between Syrians from different parts of Syria. However, the format of the Conference was actually focused track sessions, where non-participating organizations were merely hearers (except for time-restricted brief comments).
  • Many individuals and organizations, in Syria and neighboring countries, who were invited to the Conference, confirmed that the organizers did not make sufficient efforts to secure logistical support and visas in time for them. This deprived them of attending the Conference and had a clear impact on the representation, which thus resulted in the failure to convey a complete picture of lived reality through the Day of Dialogue and the Ministerial meeting.
  • For the third consecutive year, the Conference ignored repeated calls to include Syriac and Kurdish in the conference’s main languages, despite them being Syrian national languages reflecting the diversity in Syria and the region.

 

Notably, the Syrian organizations active in different parts of the country, including the northeast, the west, and the regime-held areas, have made great strides towards mutual convergence defying conflict lines and artificial internal borders (This was evident in the response to the devastating February 2023 earthquake). Nonetheless, the Conference organizers did not use this already-created rapprochement between the organizations wisely. The lack of true and appropriate representation of all Syrian parts has perpetuated the current division and reinforced the marginalization suffered by certain communities, including women, people with disabilities, war casualties, and other vulnerable groups.

As such, signatories call on the EU and the organizers to,

  1. Hold a special virtual meeting with the relevant organizations to clarify the mechanisms for selecting representatives of civil society, and explain the reasons for the Conference’s failure to reflect Syrian diversity. This must be followed by the work on creating a transparent mechanism for selecting participants that takes into account the geographical, sectoral, and societal diversity of Syria.
  2. Ensure equitable representation for all Syrian regions, local communities, and humanitarian sectors. As well as ensuring inclusive, equal, and real participation in EU activities, including at Brussels Conference. This needs the concrete implementation of the recommendation made by the UN secretary-general, António Guterres at the opening of the Seventh Brussels Conference, which says that there can be no sustainable political solution without all Syrians.
  3. Exert real and effective efforts to bring the voices of local actors from inside Syria and neighboring countries to the EU events, whether by providing effective logistical support or ensuring their participation via the Internet. This would bridge the gap between organizations operating on the ground and those active in the diaspora.

Signatories, (In alphabetical order):

  1. Adil Center for Human Rights
  2. AINSHAMS Organization
  3. Al – Diyar Association
  4. Al – Khaboor Association
  5. Al – Raja Organization for Relief and Development
  6. Allied for Peace
  7. Al-Nawras Development Organization
  8. Alzajel Organization for Civil Socity
  9. Amal Alfurat Organization
  10. Amal Association
  11. Analysis and Strategic Study Organization (ASO)
  12. Anwar Algad
  13. Arak of East Organization
  14. ARAS Association
  15. Areej Organisation for Social Development
  16. Arzo organization
  17. ASHNA for Development
  18. Ashti Center for Building Peace
  19. Azdahar Organization
  20. Balsam Center for Health Education
  21. Better Hope for Al-Tabqa
  22. Better Tomorrow
  23. Bukra Ahla Association for Relief and Development
  24. Center for Research and Protection of Women’s rights in Syria
  25. Civil Society Platform
  26. Civil Society Youth Organization
  27. Community Solidarity Organaization
  28. DAN for Relief and Development
  29. DemoS
  30. Dijla Organization for Development and Environment
  31. DOZ Organization
  32. Dvlepamtd Seeds Center
  33. Ebdaa Organization for Development
  34. Ella Organization For Development and Peacebuilding
  35. Enma Aljazera
  36. Enmaa Alfourat Organization
  37. Ensaf for Development Organization
  38. Environment and Water Association (EWAS)
  39. Equity and Empowerment
  40. Euphrates NGO
  41. European and American Solidarity Committee for Afrin – Espoir Afrin
  42. Future Hands Organization
  43. General Union of Kurdish Writers and Journalists in Syria
  44. Generations for Development
  45. Haneen Al-Furat Organization
  46. HOLM
  47. Human Hope Team
  48. Human Peace Association
  49. Human Rights Organisation in Syria MAF e.v
  50. Human rights Organization Afrin- syria
  51. Inaash Organization for Development
  52. Iwaa Organization
  53. Jasmine Association
  54. Jiyan Charity Association
  55. Jiyan e. V.
  56. Jsor Alamal
  57. Kobani for Relief and Development
  58. Kurdish Committee for Human Rights – Observer
  59. Kurdish Organization for Human Rights in Syria (DAD)
  60. Lamasat alkhier Association for Relief and Development
  61. Lelun Association for Victims
  62. Lights for Development and Construction
  63. Malva for Arts and Culture
  64. Manara Organization
  65. Mary Association for Culture, Arts and Environment
  66. Nasmet Amal Organisation
  67. Nawat
  68. New Horizones
  69. Nujin Society for Community Development
  70. Okaaz
  71. PEACE SHE LEADERS NET WORK
  72. PÊL- Civil Waves
  73. Qadar Organization
  74. Radiance of Hope Organization
  75. Rahma Organization for Studies and Development
  76. Rewangeh – for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience in Syria
  77. Rojkar Organization for Relief and Development
  78. Sahem Organization for Cooperation and Development
  79. Salam Organization
  80. SAMA
  81. Sanabel Al – Furat Development Organization
  82. Sara Organization to Combat Violence Against Women
  83. Sawaeed Organization for Development
  84. Shawshaka Association for Women
  85. Sighted Hands Organization
  86. Slav Organization for Civil Activities
  87. SMART Center – Zirak
  88. Snnae Almustaqbal Team
  89. Sphere for Development
  90. Swaedna Organization for Relief and Development
  91. Synergy Association for Victims
  92. Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)
  93. Syrian Center for Studies and Dialogue – SCSD
  94. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
  95. Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
  96. Tara Organization
  97. The Civil Cooperation Team Organization
  98. The Violations Documentation Center in Northern Syria
  99. Totol foundation for Relief and Development
  100. Tree of Life Organization for Development
  101. Urnammu for Justice & Human Rights
  102. Wamda for Development, Training and Consulting
  103. Weqaya Association
  104. Youth for Change
  105. Youth Optimistic Organization
  106. Zameen for Development and Peacebuilding
  107. Zin Development Center

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