SYRIA: Syrian Women Used as 'Weapons of War'

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
BBC News
Western Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Women in Syria are being used as "weapons of war", a human rights activist has told MEPs.

Farah Hwijeh, a civil society leader supporting the participation of women in peace building in Syria, told the Human Rights Committee that rape and sexual harassment were becoming widespread since the start of the country's conflict in 2011.

She said that "millions" of women were fleeing Syria and were being disproportionately affected by the violence.

"Fear breeds extremism," she warned.

The committee also heard from Mustafa Haid from Dawlati, a civil society group promoting non-violent resistance.

He told MEPs that Syrians involved with the Assad regime who also hold EU nationality should be brought before European courts and "be held to account for their actions".

Mr Haid described the recent deal on the handover of chemical weapons as a "positive step" but cautioned that a political solution to the crisis was becoming "more and more complicated".