The symposium was attended by a group of women political activists and jurists, members of civil society institutions, political parties, members of the Yazidi House, the Kongra Star, the Educated Women Association, the Free Women’s Stand, members in Organizations for the Research and Women’s Rights Protection Center and the Social Justice Council, members of the Women’s Body in al-Jazeera region, and the Women’s Council in northeastern Syria, in addition to members of the Jinology Academy.
The symposium started with a welcome speech by the Diplomatic Relations Administration of the Kongra Star Roken Ahmed.
The symposium’s terms consisted of three axes, namely:
First: Violence against women under Corona
In the first axis, the Professor and Lawyer at the Social Justice Council, Khanum Ayu, spoke and said: “Violence against women has a history, and is not linked to the emergence of an event in the current history because the existing regimes at the level of the Middle East and the world have relied since thousands of years on colonialism and the tyranny against women, society and nature. For example, we saw in light of the spread of the Corona pandemic that these existing regimes exacerbated their crisis, the countries that claim to have means to ensure the protection of society remained unable to protect women, society and nature, and despite the development of most countries technically, only the fullness of circumstances like these collapsed their regimes without finding strategic solutions, neither in protection nor in health.”
Khanum clarified that the rates and statistics of violence against women, including killing, beating, and victimization have increased worldwide, and its facts show that neither governments nor regimes are able to protect women unless women organizations support to be the force protecting their gender.
Khanum also touched on the situation in the regions of northern and eastern Syria and said: “These regions are not excluded in relation to the increase in cases of domestic violence in the world, but these violations can be more severe because the region already suffers from the scourge of wars, displacement, asylum, and psychological, economic and political crises even before the Corona virus arrived.”
In turn, the social and civil activist from al-Sulaymaniyah city, Suz Abdel Qader, said through a Skype intervention that the spread of the Corona epidemic threatens security and peace in Başûr Kurdistan and all regions, and its effects differ from one region to another. She noted: “But what concerns us is the direct effects on human society, which are summarized at three levels; the global, international level, and its effects on women.”
Suz also mentioned that unemployment increased its rate with the cessation of production and the closing of factories and trade, and led to a low standard of living, which warned the creation of disputes among the family members. She said that the first statement of the capitalist countries in dealing with any crisis is the removal of women from work and depriving them of their most basic rights.
Second: Violence and extermination under the Turkish occupation
While the second term of the symposium dealt with the axis of violence and extermination in the shadow of the Turkish occupation and it was delivered by the Co-chair of the Justice Council and the Member of the Research and Women’s Rights Protection Center, Attia Yusuf. She said that the region is exposed to tragic conditions in Syria in general and northern and eastern regions in particular by the Turkish state and its factions, in which the people sacrificed tens of thousands of victims and martyrs, as they occupied several regions where the Kurds are present without taking into account the international and humanitarian laws. These factions, at the instruction of the Turkish state, committed numerous violations and crimes, including forced displacement and demographic change, forcibly transferring children from the group to another group, using lethal and internationally prohibited weapons, killing, raping and kidnapping women, in addition to the mutilation of the martyrs’ bodies; the fighters of the Women’s Protection Units, including the martyr Amara Rinas, and before that, Barin Kobane.
While the Administrator of the Foundation for the Women’s Rights Center in Europe, Media Polat, said that the Turkish state increased its crimes towards the regions of northern and eastern Syria, and since its occupation of Afrin, it has been continuing to displace, kill, and arbitrary arrest women and children violating all human rights standards through the occupation of Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, which started by carrying out an ambush by Ahrar al-Sharqiyya faction against the struggler Hevrin Khalaf, and brutally assassinating her.
Third: Visions and solutions to confront the violations of the Turkish occupation
The third item dealt with visions and solutions to confront the violations of the Turkish occupation and violence against women by Dalia Hannan, the Administrative Member at the Kongra Star, as she said that in light of the blatant violations against women in the occupied areas as a result of the authoritarian mentality that rejects the existence of a woman entity and targets it with all ways and means, the concept of the fundamental protection of women has to be established through awareness and introducing them to the necessity of adhering to the culture of mother nature and freedom from the limitations of the capitalist modernity mentality.
Dalia added: “We faced the gravity of the Corona virus in social terms. After the imposition of the curfew on the region, social problems such as divorce, suicide, violence and murder multiplied, and from this standpoint, we had to work to educate women about how to protect themselves and protect their gender through (dialogues, lectures, home visits), and reach out to all women in villages, cities and towns.
The participants in the symposium put several solutions to confront violence in the Corona crisis; educating women on how to protect themselves through dialogues and lectures, informing women of laws that define women with their rights, communicating with women’s organizations around the world, and working for some countries signing on the Women’s Rights Convention.
The dialogue symposium concluded with a closing statement delivered by the Co-chair of the Human Rights Organization in al-Jazeera region, Avin Jumaa, and the text of the statement included:
“Since the beginning of the revolutionary movement in Syria, the Turkish occupation state has worked to indirectly enter the northern and eastern regions of Syria through its support for terrorist attacks starting from Jabhet al-Nusra and ISIS, and ending with the mercenaries of the Syrian National Army that occupied the areas of al-Bab, Jarabulus and Azaz.
When its efforts to occupy the Autonomous Administration areas failed, it interfered directly through its attacks on Afrin, Serêkaniyê, and Girê Spî, and committed numerous international violations such as killing women and children until it rose in its violations to the level of war crimes. It violated the international laws and treaties before the eyes of the world without move. These violations continued during the occupation period to this day, by killing women, forcibly displacing them, and imposing the policy of abandonment and demographic change in the region.
In light of the Corona pandemic that created a high crisis imposed great pressure, and the suffering of women under it was the greatest, especially in areas of conflict, and what is happening in northern Syria under the Turkish occupation is a good example of this.
We, the civil and human rights women’s organizations in northern and eastern Syria, denounce the international silence towards the violations committed in Syria, including violence and genocide against women in general and female leaders in particular, as well as the ambivalence of Security Council resolutions putting the lives of millions of Syrians at risk.”
We appeal to women and human rights organizations and countries concerned with Syrian affairs to carry out their moral duty towards the violations committed against all women.