On April 13, Senior Fellow Mariana Karkoutly spoke to the United Nations Security Council, during the Security Council’s Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Mariana delivered a statement to the Security Council in her capacity as a legal investigator and co-founder of Huquqyat, a membership-based organization of women lawyers and legal practitioners advocating for accountability in Syria.
In her statement, Mariana focused on three main issues: the use of sexual violence against women, entrenched gender discrimination in Syria, and next steps for the international community to ensure accountability against perpetrators. Mariana spoke about the horrific conditions and sexual violence against women in detention, and discussed how the Syrian regime has engaged in systematically weaponizing sexual violence, all while protected by the country’s corrupt legal system that offers no protection to women and girls against sexual or gender-based violence, including marital rape.
Mariana also called on the Security Council to push for accountability for the Syrian government, including through referring the situation to the International Criminal Court.
“When people in Syria watch conflicts rage in Ukraine and other parts of the world today, we are reminded of our own suffering, and the abject failure of this body to stop the violence,” Mariana said in her statement’s conclusion. “I join my voice with those of the millions of girls and women from Syria who are not here with me today, and call on you to take action. There can be no peace without justice.”