International conference on jailed Syrian women to be held in Istanbul

Published 19.02.2019 20:35
emAFP Photo/em
AFP Photo

An international conference will be held in Istanbul on Feb. 20 to raise awareness about the suffering of women and young girls imprisoned by the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.

The conference which will host participants from 45 countries, including Syria, Britain, South Africa, Ecuador, Qatar, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Brazil will be held by The Conscious Movement, an international initiative founded in March 2018 after an all-women convoy went to the Turkish-Syrian border to raise awareness of imprisoned Syrian women on International Women's Day.

Baroness Pola Uddin, a member of Britain's House of Lords, Zwelivelile Mandlesizwe Dalibhunga Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Clan Traditional Council in South Africa and grandson of Nelson Mandela, and Ecuadorian parliamentarian Ana Belen Marin Aguirre are among the participants of this year's conference.

Yavuz Dede, spokesman for the Movement, told Anadolu Agency that the conference aims to draw international attention to the suffering of women imprisoned amid the Syrian civil war and subjected to torture and rape.

Dede said that the Conscience Movement is an international initiative largely devoted freeing women and children arrested since 2011 when the Syrian civil war broke out.

"The Movement is supported by more than 2,000 NGOs and thousands of people from 110 countries," Dede said.

"More than 13,500 Syrian women have been detained since the war started in March 2011 and more than 7,000 women remain in these prisons, often subjected to torture, rape, or sexual violence," the Movement's organizers said in a statement.

On March 6, 2018, the International Conscience Convoy started on a three-day journey with 55 buses from Istanbul that ended in southeastern Turkey's Hatay province, near neighboring Syria. The rally that was held to mark International Women's Day was attended by over 10,000 women from over 50 countries, including Syria, Ukraine, Chile, Palestine, Iraq, Britain, East Turkestan, Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Qatar.

At least 400,000 people, including women and children, have been taken to Syrian regime prisons since the beginning of the war, according to the convoy organizers.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.

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