WILPF-US Statement on Iraq and Syria, June 2014




We, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – United States Section, reiterate that peace comes from the people on the ground developing their own democratic institutions. There is no military solution to the situation in Iraq. 

We are disappointed that the US Government is again considering possible military strikes rather than more negotiations. This problem is political and it has been created by past government failures to include the Sunni and Kurdish minorities. 

The most immediate need is for massive humanitarian aid for the thousands of refugees caused by the fighting in Iraq and Syria. The United States, as a wealthy nation, can lead on this. Providing weapons from any source can only inflame and prolong the suffering, and increase the death toll.

In the meantime, a diplomatic solution must be sought through comprehensive regional peace negotiations. These must be based on international law and the Geneva Conventions. The first steps would include a cease-fire and no more escalation of armaments. The needs of the people living in Iraq and Syria should take precedence over the policy interests of the United States or of any other outside regional players such as Saudi Arabia or Qatar or Israel.

The women of Syria, as a non-sectarian group, developed the following guidelines for negotiation at Geneva II. They were denied a seat. Women must be included in the process. We support these demands as being applicable to both Syria and Iraq. We urge the United States, instead of continuing policies that perpetuate violence, to become a partner for peace in a fully participatory process.

Syrian Women’s Initiative for Peace and Democracy

11-13 January 2014

Demands on the Negotiation Process

  1. Adopt the Geneva I Communiqué as the baseline for a political solution and as the starting point for the negotiation process that seeks to build a comprehensive and lasting peace, and which lays the foundation for a state based on citizenship and the rule of law.
  2. Start the democratic transition process to end tyranny in all its forms and lay the foundations for a pluralistic civil and democratic state in which all components of society are equal, and which upholds human rights in accordance with international norms and guarantees freedom of speech and belief.
  3. Affirm that the State should be based on the principles of peaceful transfer of power, separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, rule of law and neutrality of the military. 
  4. Reject any political solution based on ethnicity, confessionalism, religion or military balance on the ground, to protect the territorial integrity of Syria and the unity of its people.
  5. Demand that the constitution guarantees the equality of women and men and penalizes all forms of discrimination and violence against women.
  6. Demand a constitution that guarantees the rights of equal citizenship to the Syrian people in all their diversity and affiliations.
  7. Establish a clear timetable for the negotiation phase.
  8. Urge all relevant international actors to end all forms of military support to the parties and call upon neighboring states to control their borders with Syria in accordance with international laws. 
  9. Develop a national Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration program.
  10. Incorporate strategies to guarantee gender-sensitive transitional justice.
  11. Prohibit the transitional government from entering into contractual agreements that extend beyond its tenure or from signing contracts that may bind the country beyond the transitional stage or threaten its independence in any way.