WILPF Statement on Syria

by Rose Daitsman, Chair, Advancing Human Rights/CEDAW Issue Committee

The following is a summary of the statement of the International Board of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom on Syria, Chemical Weapons and Military Intervention released on August 30, 2013. The full statement may be found at wilpfinternational.org.

The use of chemical weapons is a serious violation of international law, regardless of which party to the conflict perpetrated the attack. But the use of chemical weapons, however abhorrent and illegal, should not be used as a pretext for military intervention. Other options are available and must be pursued.

The prohibition against using chemical weapons is just as binding as a treaty and is similarly binding on armed groups. Consequently, if either the government or a rebel faction uses chemical weapons, they can be held accountable for this violation of international law. The alleged use of chemical weapons must not be used as a pretext for military intervention.

  1. Ensure effective investigation of the attack through an extension of the existing mandate of the UN inspections.
  2. Seek a UN Security Council resolution to secure the hand-over of any WMD in the possession of any party to the conflict
  3. Request the UN Security Council refer the matter to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  4. Support a political solution through inclusive peace talks.

Law is not about quick “fixes” often demanded by governments, or the immediate justice that is wanted by victims. However, it provides a process which is critical to engage with if we want to move away from violent retribution and towards processes of peace and justice.

WILPF calls, yet again, for choosing peace over violence, and political over militarized solutions.

Sustainable peace cannot be built on more violence.


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