Foza Yûsif, member of the Democratic Union Party, (PYD) Co-Presidency of the Syrian Kurds, answered questions of Hawar News Agency regarding the women’s organisations in north and east Syria.
Speaking on the 16th anniversary of the foundation of the Kongreya Star (Kurdish for Star Congress), a confederation for all women’s groups in Rojava, which organises itself according to the ecological, democratic paradigm that believes in women’s freedom, Yûsif said, “I salute and congratulate all Kurdish women, Syrian women and all the women around the world, who seek freedom. Kongreya Star has played a key role in the recognition of the Kurdish women’s identity, organisation and liberation as well as on building a consciousness of freedom, participating in the freedom struggle and on the active construction of the Autonomous Administration.”
Women’s renaissance in Syria
Yûsif stated, “Today 50 percent of women participate in the Autonomous Administration whilst the other 50 percent participates in the co-presidency council. This is owed to Kongreya Star. If women are able to resist with the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) against the occupation, this is also related to the struggle of Kongreya Star as well, as it was the most significant power that gave support to YPJ. Kongreya Star has lead the Women’s renaissance.”
Kurdish women’s impact on women’s struggle around the world
Commenting on the impact of the Kurdish women’s organisation in Syria, Yûsif said that the identity of woman is the identity of Rojava. “Kurdish women have brought out the colour of the free woman in their identity with Kongreya Star and the YPJ. The achievements of women had a great impact on women’s freedom and power as it has given a moral energy to all women around the world. The women’s freedom movement in Kurdistan and all steps taken in Rojava Kurdistan have become an inspiration for resistance for all women,” she said.
“The status of women in Rojava, North and East Syria is a very real example in terms of ‘democratisation’, which is the subject of a great deal of attraction. It ranks as the first example globally in terms of the women’s achievements, because the women’s freedom struggle here has shed a light on the path of the struggle around the world and became the example and inspiration to achieve freedom around the world.”
“2021 will mark the year of a new freedom struggle of women”
Noting that the domination and violence against women has a long history Yûsif said that women’s liberation and resistance against violence requires a patient and insistent struggle.
“We should reach all women and spread our organisation everywhere. 2021 will mark the year of a new freedom struggle for Kongreya Star and for all the women’s organisations in North and East Syria. We will also follow the path of the women’s revolution and make sure that women will be introduced to the consciousness of freedom,” she stated.
“The world has remained silent in the face of these massacres”
Referring to the attacks in Afrin (Efrin), Tell Abyad (Girê Spî) and Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê), especially those targeting women, Yûsif drew attention to the role of the international public opinion. “A very special policy was applied through those regions, which can not only be linked to the Turkish state. The world has remained silent in the face of these massacres in Afrin, Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. Despite all the efforts up to date, women’s organisations, human rights organisations and the United Nations (UN) could not reach those regions,” she said.
“International organisations should document what is happening”
Yûsif criticised all international organisations for remaining silent against the attacks of the Turkish state in the North and East Syria. “The violence against women and women being kidnapped is a reflection of ISIS ideology imposed upon women in Shengal as these have also been imposed upon the women of Afrin as well. The UN and the international women ‘s organisations should immediately intervene to those regions and document the situation there. Today the Turkish state applies genocidal policies both upon the Kurds and upon women.” she said.
“The attacks of the Turkish state have reached the highest level of fascism and should immediately be judged as such. It is the responsibility of the international organisations to go there, observe the events on the field, document what is actually happening and report these to the rest of the world. If they do not apply pressure on the Turkish state and the allied mercenaries, the crimes committed against our people will only continue.”
“The UN should form a special committee in the occupied regions”
Yûsif called upon the UN saying, “Our call is that a special committee should observe and detect these crimes committed on those lands occupied. When we make meetings with those international bodies, they say, ‘We are following this situation closely,” but they have taken no practical steps to prevent all those instances that we list. That is why the United Nations should form a special committee and this committee should visit those territories occupied and see how the demography of those regions has changed, see how women are living there and how our people are killed.”