Conscience Movement demands release of women detainees in Syria

Conscience Movement demands release of women detainees in Syria
The Conscience Movement, an international NGO, called on Wednesday (February 20) the international community to take urgent action to secure the release of women and children languishing in Assad regime prisons.

The NGO held a conference in Istanbul that drew participants from 45 countries, including Syria, Britain, South Africa, Ecuador, Kenya, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Greece, Pakistan, Congo and Malaysia.

The event aimed at raising awareness about the continued suffering faced by women and children still being held in the prisons of Assad regime.

Speaking at the event, movement spokesman Yavuz Dede said the NGO would continue its activities around the world until International Women’s Day on March 8 -- and beyond -- to draw global attention to the issue.

An opening statement was read out on behalf of the initiative -- in Turkish, English and Arabic -- by Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer, rights advocate and movement representative; British journalist Colin Stevens; and Kuwaiti rights activist Aisha al-Qassar.

According to the statement, more than 13,500 Syrian women have been jailed since the revolution began in March 2011, while more than 7,000 women still remain in detention, where they are subject to torture, rape and sexual violence.

"The Conscience Movement calls for the unconditional, immediate release of Syrian women and children from Assad regime prisons without being part of any bargaining," Sonmez said.

She also urged international institutions like the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation -- along with leaders of countries such as Turkey and Russia -- “to make efforts in this regard”.

"We invite all those around the world with a conscience to raise their voice right now until the last Syrian woman and child is released," she declared.

Majid Chorbaci, a Syrian woman jailed by the Assad regime and later released in a prisoner-swap, also spoke at the conference, where she recalled the abuses she suffered while in detention.

“I was exposed to horrendous torture; electric shock and beating. They threatened me with rape and removed my hijab,” she said, going on to demand the “immediate release” of all women and children still exposed to “such horrendous torture”.

Nermina Lakota, a representative of the Mothers of Srebrenica (which represents survivors of the Siege of Srebrenica in the mid-1990s), urged Syrian women to “be brave”, saying the Mothers “stand with them”.

“I call Assad regime to release all political prisoners, particularly women and children,” Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela told Orient, and “I call for an end of atrocities against women and children in Syria,” he added.

The Conscience Movement is assisted by more than 2,000 NGOs from around the world and thousands of supporters in 110 countries.

The Conscience Movement is an international initiative established last year after an all-woman international convoy made global headlines by raising awareness of the abuses suffered by women jailed by the Assad regime.

Based on AA

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