Syrian Women and Children: Identifying Gaps and Goals for Reconstruction
Demeke, Mariam Sena
Kwok, Ho Ying
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The Syrian civil war has grown to be the defining humanitarian crisis of the early 21st century. What began as peaceful protests in 2011 has since evolved into a protracted and bloody conflict, claiming over 400,000 lives1 and triggering the largest refugee exodus since World War Two. Among those affected by the crisis, Syrian women and children are counted among the most vulnerable to the social, political, and economic fallout. Persecution by both state and non-state actors alike has forced many to flee their homes to seek refuge in other regions of Syria or as refugees in another country. Those who flee may face persecution and limited access to legal or economic protections in host countries, while those who stay are subject to the continued threats of torture, sexual violence, and unreliable access to basic needs. While many studies have focused on the short-term needs of Syrian refugees, there is a shortage of comprehensive analysis being done on the long-term impacts on women and children. Without trying to downplay the importance of providing short-term support to the Syrian people during the ongoing crisis, this report intends to open the discussion of Syria’s reconstruction and how this can be done in a way that is inclusive and equitable for women and children. The most unfortunate reality of this crisis is that innocent civilians are suffering the often-fatal consequences of both state and nonstate actors’ decisions. Therefore, the crisis will undoubtedly shape the nation of Syria’s collective psyche for decades—or even centuries—to come. It is our hope that this report gives the UN, Syria, and the international community insight and direction; the goal is for Syria to move forward with a comprehensive and realistic plan for post-crisis reconstruction, especially as it concerns the status of women and children.
- SIS 495 Task Force