Syria peace talks begin at last, but Syrian civil society and women sidelined

Published: 22 January 2014

At the closing of the first day of the Geneva II Conference, in Montreux, Oxfam’s Shaheen Chughtai said:

“It took a monumental diplomatic effort to make today’s conference happen. Grandstanding aside, the Montreux conference could mark the first step on a long, rocky road to the resolution of this devastating crisis.

“Little – if anything – will have changed on the ground today for ordinary Syrians who are suffering however. The women, men and children struggling to survive the conflict need to see a breakthrough – and fast. A halt to the violence and allowing people to fully access humanitarian aid must be prioritized.

“Oxfam is concerned that civil society organizations and women have, so far, been sidelined. Many representatives of Syrian civil society including women came to Montreux today – but were denied a place around the table. That must change as the talks progress if they are to deliver a sustainable political solution. The voice of the peaceful, yet marginalized majority, must be heard.

“Additionally, we urge the international community not to undermine the negotiations and to agree a complete halt to the arms and ammunition transfers into Syria, which are fuelling the conflict.”

 Maria Christina Travaglio/Les Studios Casagrande

Nobel prize winners and peace activists from Syria and around the world. Photo: Maria Christina Travaglio/Les Studios Casagrande

Contact Information

For more information or to arrange interviews in Montreux, please contact Zahra Akkerhuys on +44 7525 901932

Follow the action at the Geneva II peace talks via our @Oxfam Storify.

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