The Second International Women and Justice Summit, which was organized jointly by the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, was held in Istanbul in Wow Convention Center from 25th to 26th of November, 2016. At the Summit which was realized with the participation of our Esteemed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, the themes of “Syrian Refugee Women and Their Problems”, and “Women in Peace Processes” were addressed as themes of first priority.
The summit was attended by ministers or deputy ministers from nine countries, and a great number of academicians, researchers, authors, civil society representatives, journalists and volunteers from more than thirty countries.
Following the protocol speeches and session of Ministers made on the first day of the Summit, sessions of the second day were started. In addition to the eight sessions made, two focused teamworks were made in open discussion style in relation to the themes of “The Problem of Syrian Refugee Women”, and “Women in Peace Processes”, which are the two prioritized themes of the Summit. Again, in the foyer area of the Summit, poster presentations in the relevant subject were presented.
In the eight sessions made in the Summit, the following subjects were addressed: Women in Peace Processes; Syrian Refugee Women and Their Problems; Women in Work Life and their Employment Opportunities; Women in Political Life, Civil Society and Decision-Making Mechanisms; Ways of Fight Against Violence and Discrimination Against Women; Cultural Codes and Manhood; Women in Cinema, Television and Social Media; and Access by Women to Justice and Law.
We consider it appropriate to share with public opinion the following particularities as the general determinations and proposals of the Second International Women and Justice Summit, which lasted for two days:
1. The first victims of wars, conflicts, terrorist actions are women and children. Women are faced with different multidimensional problems due to wars and conflicts. These problems cover different aspects from migration to poverty, from fragmented family to destitution, from violence and abuse to becoming the target audience of war.
2. Although they are deeply impacted that much, unfortunately women cannot participate sufficiently in both the decision mechanisms leading to wars and conflicts and in peace processes and peace tables. No meaningful decisions for the benefit of women can come out of the decision mechanisms where women are not efficiently an actively involved. Although a great majority of women are affected by wars, percentage of those women participating in peace processes remains under 10 percent.
3. In order to prevent wars and conflicts and to live in a more peaceful world, it is necessary to ensure participation of women in all kinds of decision mechanisms at a higher rate and in a more efficient position, from local managements to non-governmental organizations, from national mechanisms to international organizations and institutions. From this point of view, in addition to national players, we are inviting the international players and institutions to display due sensitivity in this respect, United Nations being in the first place.
4. In order to live in a society and in a world where there is no war and conflict, a great many duties fall to women themselves. Women are not obliged to passively live the consequence designated for them by others. From this point of view, in order to change all kinds of relationship forms in micro and macro level and to make their influence felt in every aspect of life, women must act in a participant consciousness, and they must become more active and more determinant players in this sense.
5. One of the threats which affect both women and the whole society, comes from terrorist organizations. Terrorist organizations are threatening the whole humanity regardless of religion, language, race, culture and ethnic position, and put their signature under terrifying actions. In this sense, Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which has attempted a bloody insurrection on July 15, 2016 and slaughtered hundreds of civilian people regardless of whether they are women or men, constitutes an important threat not only for Turkey, but also for all the counties where it is active by putting on a mask. We deem it necessary to warn international public opinion in relation to this organization.
6. Today, Middle East is a geography where war shows its most pitiless face. Syria is the country where mass migration has occurred in the highest rate after the World War Two. In consequence of the war ongoing in Syria, while hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, millions of families have split apart, and again millions of people have become migrants, refugees and fugitives in other countries.
7. Turkey is one of the countries where Syrian migrants have taken shelter in highest rates. Turkey is hosting up to four million Syrian migrants. Anti-migrant policy of Europe causes the countries like Turkey, which accept migrants at high numbers, to suffer all the consequences in relation to Syrian migrants. Seventy percent of the migrants taking shelter in the camps in Turkey is composed of women and children.
8. Thousands of refugees are being faced with death while attempting to cross the seas to take shelter in Europe. In this sense, we are inviting the developed countries, Europe being in the first place, to adopt a more humanitarian attitude towards Syrian and other migrants. Again, we are expecting western media to display due sensitivity and objectivity in order to correctly and healthily inform the western public opinion.
9. The main factors causing women to remain in second plan in social, political and economic life, are mental stereotypes, judgments and attitudes and behaviors arising from these. While this turns politics, leadership and managing into a man’s work, it causes women to get left behind in these areas. In some cases, women are obliged to make an effort a few times more than men in order to come to the same level with them. Departing from this point of view, it is of great importance to change the mental stereotypes and attitudes which cause women to get left behind in every area of social life. It is of great importance to build the education policies and curricula on this understanding.
10. Differences of women arising from belief, race, culture and ethnic characteristics are necessary to be considered and perceived not as a means of being marginalized and excluded, but as a richness. With reference to this, it is of great importance for media to focus on the richness arising from women’s difference instead of imposing a single woman prototype, and to bring this to the forefront. This will at the same time assist societies in understanding each other, and serve to world peace. In this sense, it is of great importance for media to be careful against all kinds of discriminatory and alienating attitudes and policies rising in West, Islamofobia being in the first place, and not to be an instrument to these. Again, exhibition of woman body in the media, social media being in the first place, as a means of abuse, cannot be accepted.
11. Regulations accepted at international and national level are generally prepared with an approach which stipulates equality of women and men. However, although it differs in implementation from country to country, it is a clear reality that women cannot attain the place they deserve. Again, it is seen that women are faced with various difficulties in getting access to law despite the legal regulations. In order both to put into practice the legal regulations and to ensure access by women to law, it is of great importance to put in place various mechanisms, and support women. By this means, access by women to justice will be ensured, and also a fairer social role distribution will be in question.
12. Violence and abuse against women continues its existence as a universal problem with its different aspects. The Istanbul Convention which was accepted by the Council of Europe in the year 2011 is a very important opportunity from the viewpoint of preventing all kinds of violence and abuse against women. The countries that have put their signature under this convention are required to perform their obligations under the convention. It is important for women to be in an intense effort in order to put into practice the Istanbul Convention, both in an organized manner and individually, and to take action before governments.
In conclusion, in order to live in a world where wars, conflicts, terrorist actions, forced migrations, violence and exploitations never occur or are minimized, women are required to play a role in all the decision mechanisms in a greater number and in a more effective position. For this, a great deal of duties fall to governments, political parties, local governments, business world, media, non-governmental organizations and women themselves. A society living in peace, and a world which achieved peace is necessary not only for women, but also for the humanity, and even for all living and non-living beings. For this, we are inviting all those who put their signatures under the decisions determining the destiny of our world to think once again with this consciousness.
Respectfully submitted to the information of the public opinion.