Over 200 Syrian organisations and more than 790 individuals, including civil society organisations, local councils, NGOs and refugee groups, have laid out their expectations of the Geneva III peace process, and demanded the immediate implementation of confidence building measures, in a new declaration released this week.
The Syrian cause is at a pivotal moment following recent political and field developments coupled with regional and international agreements – including the Vienna Declaration and Security Council Resolution 2254 – that have called for the launch of a negotiated political process between the Syrian opposition and regime.
In preparation for a political process, international envoys and diplomats tasked with the Syrian file have continuously engaged representatives of Syrian civil society on the political process and issued multiple proposals calling for the participation of civil society in any discussions or negotiations between the Syrian regime and opposition.
The signatories of this declaration – both organizations and individuals – hereby affirm that Syrian civil society would not have emerged but for the March 2011 revolution; a revolution that resisted all tyrannical restrictions of a regime that consistently suppressed calls for basic freedom and the formation of civil society since 2000 through the sacrifices of its people, the suffering of its detainees and the souls of its martyrs.
The signatories also affirm that the main conflict in Syria remains with the leadership of the ruling regime based in Damascus and its repressive policies that have led the country down a catastrophic path.
The signatories of this declaration further affirm that in order for Syria to be put on the road to salvation, the Syrian people and what remains of Syrian state institutions must be liberated from this brute force and that civil society, in its many manifestations, must play a key role in furthering the March 2011 revolution and its values. Only then can Syrians realize peace through justice and thereby transition to a democratic pluralistic system where equal rights and responsibilities are granted to all Syrians. And if indeed civil society is to participate in the political process, it must be those members of civil society who emerged from the womb of the struggle for freedom and dignity and sided with the people’s just demands who should participate. [Read the complete declaration with list of signatories.]