In the midst of an ongoing civil war and an unsuccessful constitutional committee, IRI Syria supports civil society actors in promoting stability, inclusivity, and democratic change at all levels. IRI builds the capacity of Syrian activists, journalists, and human rights defenders, and supports engaging fellow citizens and stakeholders to promote responsive governance, increase political inclusion, and build more resilient communities.

IRI works in non-regime held areas of Syria to promote more responsive and inclusive governance at the local and regional levels. Alongside a network of local civil society organizations, IRI trains civic actors to hold government accountable through political process monitoring and supporting dialogues to provide space for citizens and local government actors to discuss and collaboratively resolve issues of conflict and community needs. Further, IRI helps prepare citizens to be active participants in government processes through civic and voter education programming.

To promote the participation of all groups in civic life and political processes, IRI works with Syrians in-country and in the diaspora to promote the meaningful inclusion of women and youth. IRI and its partners train women and youth to advocate for their priorities in local government and international negotiations and are supporting women and youth to counter extremist and authoritarian influence through community initiatives and independent media.

Though the peace negotiations in Geneva and the internationally backed constitutional committee have so far failed to produce meaningful results, democratically minded Syrians must remain engaged and not cede the space to undemocratic actors and foreign influence. IRI hopes that civil society actors can link between the constitutional process and ordinary citizens, using the process as a focal point to generate discussion and consensus about Syria’s future. In response, IRI encourages transparency and inclusivity by educating Syrians on constitutional issues, facilitating grassroots dialogue on democratic reform, and advocating to negotiators on local priorities and concerns. Finally, Syrian activists are supported in documenting and exposing human rights violations to ensure that the legacy of these abuses is not forgotten and to lay the groundwork for justice and accountability.

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