The Lausanne Platform
The IIIM has, from the outset, worked to establish open communication channels with its various stakeholders and in particular with Syrian civil society.
To that end, even before it was operational, the IIIM met with Syrian civil society in Lausanne, Switzerland to introduce the IIIM, its mandate and explain its role within the accountability landscape.
When the Head of the IIIM was appointed, these meetings continued with updates on progress and more substantive discussions. In 2018 a Protocol of Cooperation was signed between the IIIM and the attending Syrian CSOs.
These early discussions in Lausanne led to a regular biannual two-day event initiated, organised and hosted by the Kingdom of Netherlands and Switzerland. While held in different locations between the two States, it maintains the name the Lausanne Platform.
The platform brings together the IIIM’s leadership and staff with representatives of Syrian CSOs, to foster trust, offer substantive updates, encourage further collaboration and hear about their priorities. The IIIM actively works to include groups who have not had an opportunity to be active participants in the accountability process, including victim /survivor groups and family associations.
The platform aims to provide a safe space, allowing the IIIM to share in-depth aspects of its work, answer questions and further enhance understanding of the IIIM’s mandate as part of broader accountability efforts.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when in-person events were limited, the IIIM continued to engage with Syrian civil society via on-line platforms. More recently it has taken a hybrid approach, holding in-person events when possible as well as taking advantage of on-line platforms to engage with a broader range of interlocutors, including many for whom travel is not possible.
The most recent Lausanne Platform was held in Switzerland in November 2021, with representatives of over 20 NGOs attending. The main topic for discussion was in relation to the IIIM’s development of a Strategy on accountability for crimes against and affecting children and youth.
Gender Strategy consultations
As the IIIM continues to refine its Gender Strategy, it hosted consultations with a variety of different organisations, including Syrian CSOs, international gender experts and practitioners, and key UN representatives. Syrian interlocutors were able to provide insights into the barriers to surfacing gender-based violence, including sexual violence, in the Syrian context and the challenges faced by those working on these issues.
Children & Youth Strategy consultations
The first consultations for the Children and Youth Strategy were held in-person over two days in November 2021. The IIIM’s team facilitated discussions with and between CSOs involved with documenting or supporting children and youth impacted by the conflict.
UN Arria Formula briefing
In November 2021, the Head of the IIIM briefed the UN Security Council at an Arria Formula meeting chaired by Estonia. The meeting on accountability in Syria was organised to address the need for increased efforts by the Security Council to establish full accountability for the most serious crimes committed in Syria.
The IIIM takes every opportunity to participate in events specifically tailored for Syrian and other directly affected communities, especially those organised by civil society. These types of events provide an opportunity to broaden understanding of the IIIM’s work and objectives and allow it to answer questions put to it by different stakeholders.
Some of the closed events that the IIIM has participated in over the course of 2021 include:
- The Deputy Head of the IIIM was a panelist at an event on arbitrary detention of children in Syria, co-hosted by Legal Action Worldwide and the European Union. Read more here
- Briefing and Q&A for audience of male and female former detainees organised by Syrian CSO
- Discussion on the role of the IIIM on crimes impacting LGBTQ groups as part of international conference for MENA CSOs
- The Deputy Head of the IIIM met with a Gender Advocacy Group consisting of Syrian women’s rights defenders and advocates to discuss how to combat violence against women and girls (WAWG)
In the coming year the IIIM will be expanding the range of events for Syrian CSOs to attend. Please send us information about your organisation and its activities here if you would like to attend and be added to our mailing list.
The IIIM also produces a regular bulletin which aims to demystify its work and provide a realistic expectation of the accountability process.
View the bulletins here.