107 Syrian Organizations Call on the EU to Promote Inclusive Approach to Syrian Issues

Signatories express disappointment at the neglect of urgent issues and the marginalization of regions and communities during the VII Brussels Conference 2023.

The European Union organized a Seventh Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ on 14 and 15 June 2023, in Brussels. The conference addressed critical humanitarian and resilience issues affecting Syrians in Syria and neighboring countries.
Syrian participants– as individuals and organizations – and those who failed to attend due to logistical difficulties were looking forward to a more inclusive edition of the Conference reflecting the Syrian diversity. They were disappointed to see low levels of effective local representation on the Day of Dialogue. Those following up to the Conference also saw the marginalization and exclusion of many local organizations and groups, and made observations in this regard, to name a few,
It was evident that there was a deliberate ignoring and dodging to address issues of vital importance to northeastern areas and other Syrian parts. There was a lack of representation of northeastern and regime-held areas as well as some neighboring countries. Actually, no speaker was identified to speak up about the suffering of northeastern Syria’s population and advocate for the local communities urgent and priority issues.
The naming of the first day as the “Day of Dialogue” indicates that there would be a direct dialogue between Syrians from different parts of Syria. However, the format of the Conference was actually focused track sessions, where non-participating organizations were merely hearers (except for time-restricted brief comments).
Many individuals and organizations, in Syria and neighboring countries, who were invited to the Conference, confirmed that the organizers did not make sufficient efforts to secure logistical support and visas in time for them. This deprived them of attending the Conference and had a clear impact on the representation, which thus resulted in the failure to convey a complete picture of lived reality through the Day of Dialogue and the Ministerial meeting.
For the third consecutive year, the Conference ignored repeated calls to include Syriac and Kurdish in the conference’s main languages, despite them being Syrian national languages reflecting the diversity in Syria and the region.

Notably, the Syrian organizations active in different parts of the country, including the northeast, the west, and the regime-held areas, have made great strides towards mutual convergence defying conflict lines and artificial internal borders (This was evident in the response to the devastating February 2023 earthquake). Nonetheless, the Conference organizers did not use this already-created rapprochement between the organizations wisely. The lack of true and appropriate representation of all Syrian parts has perpetuated the current division and reinforced the marginalization suffered by certain communities, including women, people with disabilities, war casualties, and other vulnerable groups.
As such, signatories call on the EU and the organizers to,
Hold a special virtual meeting with the relevant organizations to clarify the mechanisms for selecting representatives of civil society, and explain the reasons for the Conference’s failure to reflect Syrian diversity. This must be followed by the work on creating a transparent mechanism for selecting participants that takes into account the geographical, sectoral, and societal diversity of Syria.
Ensure equitable representation for all Syrian regions, local communities, and humanitarian sectors. As well as ensuring inclusive, equal, and real participation in EU activities, including at Brussels Conference. This needs the concrete implementation of the recommendation made by the UN secretary-general, António Guterres at the opening of the Seventh Brussels Conference, which says that there can be no sustainable political solution without all Syrians.
Exert real and effective efforts to bring the voices of local actors from inside Syria and neighboring countries to the EU events, whether by providing effective logistical support or ensuring their participation via the Internet. This would bridge the gap between organizations operating on the ground and those active in the diaspora.

Signatories, (In alphabetical order)

Adil Center for Human Rights
AINSHAMS Organization
Al – Diyar Association
Al – Khaboor Association
Al – Raja Organization for Relief and Development
Allied for Peace
Al-Nawras Development Organization
Alzajel Organization for Civil Socity
Amal Alfurat Organization
Amal Association
Analysis and Strategic Study Organization (ASO)
Anwar Algad
Arak of East Organization
ARAS Association
Areej Organisation for Social Development
Arzo organization
ASHNA for Development
Ashti Center for Building Peace
Azdahar Organization
Balsam Center for Health Education
Better Hope for Al-Tabqa
Better Tomorrow
Bukra Ahla Association for Relief and Development
Center for Research and Protection of Women’s rights in Syria
Civil Society Platform
Civil Society Youth Organization
Community Solidarity Organaization
DAN for Relief and Development
Dijla Organization for Development and Environment
DOZ Organization
Dvlepamtd Seeds Center
Ebdaa Organization for Development
Ella Organization For Development and Peacebuilding
Enma Aljazera
Enmaa Alfourat Organization
Ensaf for Development Organization
Environment and Water Association (EWAS)
Equity and Empowerment
Euphrates NGO
European and American Solidarity Committee for Afrin – Espoir Afrin
Future Hands Organization
General Union of Kurdish Writers and Journalists in Syria
Generations for Development
Haneen Al-Furat Organization
Human Hope Team
Human Peace Association
Human Rights Organisation in Syria MAF e.v
Human rights Organization Afrin- syria
Inaash Organization for Development
Iwaa Organization
Jasmine Association
Jiyan Charity Association
Jiyan e. V.
Jsor Alamal
Kobani for Relief and Development
Kurdish Committee for Human Rights – Observer
Kurdish Organization for Human Rights in Syria (DAD)
Lamasat alkhier Association for Relief and Development
Lelun Association for Victims
Lights for Development and Construction
Malva for Arts and Culture
Manara Organization
Mary Association for Culture, Arts and Environment
Nasmet Amal Organisation
New Horizones
Nujin Society for Community Development
PÊL- Civil Waves
Qadar Organization
Radiance of Hope Organization
Rahma Organization for Studies and Development
Rewangeh – for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience in Syria
Rojkar Organization for Relief and Development
Sahem Organization for Cooperation and Development
Salam Organization
Sanabel Al – Furat Development Organization
Sara Organization to Combat Violence Against Women
Sawaeed Organization for Development
Shawshaka Association for Women
Sighted Hands Organization
Slav Organization for Civil Activities
SMART Center – Zirak
Snnae Almustaqbal Team
Sphere for Development
Swaedna Organization for Relief and Development
Synergy Association for Victims
Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)
Syrian Center for Studies and Dialogue – SCSD
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
Tara Organization
The Civil Cooperation Team Organization
The Violations Documentation Center in Northern Syria
Totol foundation for Relief and Development
Tree of Life Organization for Development
Urnammu for Justice & Human Rights
Wamda for Development, Training and Consulting
Weqaya Association
Youth for Change
Youth Optimistic Organization
Zameen for Development and Peacebuilding
Zin Development Center