The crisis in Syria has affected millions of people both economically and politically, with losses affecting hundreds of thousands.
Such crises highly impact the most vulnerable groups, including minorities and LGBTQIA+ individuals. The LGBTQIA+ community has continually faced discrimination on a social and political level in Syria, and were one of the first communities to be targeted when war and violence broke out in 2011. The gap in fulfilling the needs of LGBTQIA+ has increased exponentially since then, and the lack of protection and support for them continues to be a reality that has been left unaddressed.
The international community has collaborated to call attention to political issues, human rights violations, and relief efforts for refugees through various activities. One of these efforts towards the reconstruction of Syria is the annual Brussels Conference “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”
During the conference, organizers from the international community come together to address the needs and gaps within the Syrian response in order to gain support towards resolving these issues. This conference was established in May 2017, yet the issues of LGBTQIA+ in Syria have never been discussed. This is unacceptable especially since there has never been LGBTQIA+ representation at any of the conferences throughout the years.
Despite the need to address urgent needs and injustices towards vulnerable communities, the international community has ignored the systematic discrimination and mistreatment of those that identify as LGBTQIA+. Additionally, the Syrian community continues to think that LGBTQIA+ rights are a minor issue that they refuse to discuss or acknowledge.
Guardians of Equality Movement (GEM) demands that LGBTQIA+ voices and issues are not excluded from all decision making processes regarding the reconstruction and future peacemaking efforts for Syria, including in the Brussels Conference “Supporting the Future of Syria and the region”.
We reiterate that the issues of LGBTQIA+ people are just as important and urgent as any other group especially this community continues to be systematically targeted, raped, killed, and blackmailed.
We call on all international communities, donors, and local actors to hold themselves accountable by bringing inclusion to future conferences.