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To: To Teresa May (Home Secretary) and Justine Greening (International Development Secretary)

Violence towards the women of Raqqa is a flagrant act of war

Violence towards the women of Raqqa is a flagrant act of war

Openly condemn the brutal practices of forced marriage, female genital mutilation and floggings in Raqqa, North Syria.

Why is this important?

I visited Raqqa in 2005 and found it to be hospitable and the home to the many different cultures, which make up the Syrian population.

There is no hard evidence, that female circumcision is a religious or cultural practice in Syria, which has an inclusive state education system. The brutal practice is the ultimate war crime against women and the act of marriage absolves the perpetrators of rape allegations.

Refusal to comply with their marriage requests can result in ''lashings'' by both male and female mercenaries (Alison Baily, Woman's Hour, July 4th 2014).

In the light of remarks made at the recent 'Girl Summit', this petition asks the Home Office to focus on Raqqa and condemn those responsible.

At the summit, hosted jointly by the British Government and UNICEF, the Home Secretary Teresa May pledged to end the practices of forced marriage and female genital mutilation in the UK.

Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, is quoted by the Telegraph as saying: ''We need to take on the issues that we have instinctively shied away from in the past. This has got to be a global movement. We know we need to do much, much more."

The brutal acts against women are carried out by one or more of the groups, which declared Raqqa a ''Caliphate'' in February of this year.

No-one admits to owning the groups, which carry out the barbaric acts but the British Government recognise them as ''invaders'' and ''terrorists'' and not part of the solution to the crisis in Syria. In a recent letter my local MP stated, that ''...the UK government is deeply concerned with the growth of terrorism in Syria...''

This is for Afaf, a young woman from Raqqa, who befriended me when I was there. Syria was once a safe destination and living space for women; lets make it so again.

I don't have any recent photos and it would be dangerous to publish them. I do have photos taken in 2005, of some local children, who were attracted to my sun umbrella and made my walk around the now famous city walls of Raqqa fun.

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Updates

2018-01-27 18:28:23 +0000

25 signatures reached

2014-09-11 10:15:04 +0100

10 signatures reached