SCM Citizenship and Civil Society Unit (CSU)

The CSU enables civil society to improve its effectiveness and form opinions as well as practicing its role in the development of institutions based on good governance. Such organizations provide rules and standards for integrity and transparency in accordance with democracy and human rights law. They also engage in making policies that supports civil society which is able to deal with post-conflict issues, play different long-term and effective roles in legal and international forums and through United Nations mechanisms. The CSU aims to enhance the role of civil society in order to build sustainable peace in Syria.

The CSU undertakes this through:

  • Strategic advocacy towards international stakeholders on the issues of freedom of expression, justice and the role of civil society.
  • Providing safe space for Syrian civil society organizations to develop common opinions, joint work strategies and to build social gaps and rifts.
  • Enabling and training civil society activists on international human rights mechanisms and how to undertake strategic advocacy.
  • Promotion of human rights values within civil society.

Challenges

  • SCM is the only Syrian organization in consultative status with UN ECOSOC. This imposes additional responsibilities and burdens on the center and requires its continuous presence at the United Nations duty stations i.e. Geneva – New York.
  • Sustainability: this is the most prominent challenge which reflects not only the crisis of limited support (financial challenge), but also the problem of short term partnerships.
  • Capacity: limited Syrian activists’ knowledge, expertise and specialization in the UN’s working mechanisms and international advocacy mechanisms.

Approaches to combating terrorism: most approaches are directed towards security solutions which tackle the outcomes of terrorism without finding solutions for the reasons behind its emergence, and without protecting societies from the possibility of its re-emergence. The solution is to build a civil society that is able to face the reasons of political, economic, and social extremism.

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