Campaign in Solidarity with Detained and Abducted Syrian Women

12 March 2014

As the Syrian uprising enters its fourth year, the numbers of detainees escalate dreadfully. Most of them are in horrific conditions, suffering from torture, overcrowding, inadequate food, and routine denial of necessary medical assistance.

While a horrifying number of Syrians are in regime prisons, the exact number of women detainees remains unknown, due the government's refusal to release any numbers. 730 women detainees are estimated by the Violations Documentation Center estimates, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimates upwards of 40,000. The disparity between the two figures shows the definiciency and the failure of human rights organizations to pursue this matter thoroughly.

This negligence prompted the Female Journalists Network and several media outlets, including our own SyriaUntold, to launch a campaign in solidarity with detained and abducted Syrian women to coincide with International Women's Day. “As a reminder of the conditions of detention and how women are used by the regime as a means to pressure their families,” explains journalist and campaign coordinator Melia Aidmuni.

The campaign aims to be the voice of missing Syrian women, by affirming that the wave of arrests against female activists is an attempt to eliminate the role of women in the civil movement in Syria. the campaign also aims to bring the issue of arbitrary detention front and center to put pressure both the regime and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to reveal the fate of the abducted activists, including human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, ex-political prisoner Samira Khalil, activist Samar Saleh, Syrian red crescent volunter Maryam Hayed among many others.

In order to spread the campaign on a large-scale, the group shared the idea with several media outlets and international organizations, including, Dawlati (My Country) project, Souriali Radio, Hawa Smart Radio, Baladna Radio, SyriaDaily, and SyriaUntold, which facilitated interviews and coordination of work.

SyriaUntold contributed to the campaign by focusing on the issue of female detainees and the status of Syrian women three years after the outbreak of the uprising. While the project of Dawlati has designed multiple posters, illustrating the number of women detainees in each city.

Syrian women still suffer persecution and discrimination, on a social and political level,” Aidmuni notes, “as if these daily challenges women face are not enough, the regime continues to shove hundreds of young women in detention cells!”

Nevertheless, the Network of Female Journalists persists on moving forward, to deliver the voice of Syrian women to international assemblies, such as participating in the Voices of Syrian Women, a conference sponsored by Humanity House and Hivos in the Hauge.



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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad