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Conscience Convoy reaches Syria-Turkey border

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Journalists, activists, human rights advocates from nearly 60 countries have arrived at the Turkish-Syrian border after two days of exhaustive travelling by bus. The ‘Conscience Convoy’ began its three-day journey from Istanbul as part of International Women’s Day to highlight the suffering of women imprisoned by the Syrian regime. 2000 women from all walks of life are participating, including organisations such as the South African National Muslim Women’s Forum and the MJC Women’s Forum. Nelson Mandela’s daughter-in-law Rayne Rose Mandela-Perry is also believed to be travelling with the convoy. South African National Muslim Women’s Forum chairperson Shamshad Sayed says they will be meeting refugees soon at the refugee camp in Reyhanli, on the border of Syria and Turkey.

WATCH: Shamshad Sayed documents their bus journey to the Syrian-Turkish border

“After a very hectic day, the most solemn moment was the three minutes of silence when the women tied their hands with scarves, which will be given to the Syrian refugees. The point was to say that we are incarceration, as long as our sisters in Syria are incarcerated.”

Organisers of the convoy said about 7,000 women are currently being held in prisons in Syria.
The Conscience Convoy activists will demand “the release of women and children being held in Syrian prisons who are being raped and tortured by the Assad regime”.

WATCH: Thousands of global women in solidarity with Syrian women

‘Rage against the Assad regime’

Scottish activist Yvonne Ridley said while there are injustices against women globally “the plight of the Syrian women has become desperate.” She added that this must be the focus on International Women’s Day.

“We will rage against the Assad regime and demand the prisons are emptied. We will roar for justice on behalf of the Syrian women.”

Nour, a Syrian activist, who declined to give her full name told Reuters she was unjustly imprisoned for a month by the government of President Bashar al-Assad for her humanitarian work.

“Women have been exposed to war, suffering, asylum, and forced displacement in all countries subjected to war. We call on the entire world to protect women,” she said.
Bosnian contingent

Among the group are 200 women from Bosnia, many of whom lost loved ones in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

“We wanted to do something for Syrian women because we understand their pain the most,” Bosnian activist Shehida Abdurahmanovic told Anadolu Agency.

“The most important message I have for these women is: stay strong, be always strong because no matter what, after the war ends, you are witnesses of it, you will be the voice to get justice, you will have to fight for peace, this is why you have to be strong,” she said.

Fellow Bosnian Gurdic Ramiza told Anadolu Agency that soldiers had attempted to take her during the conflict, but she resisted.

“Raise your voice and never forget the war crimes and the perpetrators,” she said.

[Source: VOC, with additional reporting from SBS News]
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