Neglected regions and languages highlighted by Syrian civil organizations at Brussels Conference

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — One hundred and seven Syrian civil organizations have expressed their disappointment regarding the marginalization of regions and communities in Syria, including North and East Syria, during the 7th Brussels Conference held on 14 June.

In a statement published by Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) on Friday, the signatory organizations called for a more comprehensive approach by the European Union towards addressing the issues in Syria.

The organizations pointed out the unjustified neglect and absence of crucial matters concerning North and East Syria and other regions, highlighting the absence of a speaker representing the suffering of the residents in those areas.

The statement criticized the conference’s continuous disregard, for the third consecutive year, of the repeated appeals to include Syriac and Kurdish languages as main languages during the conference, despite them being Syrian national languages, reflecting the diversity of Syria and the entire region.

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.