Widad issued a statement today after hearing of the Turkish airstrikes on Shingal (the home town of Yazidis) and Rojava (Kurdish region in today’s Syria).
Well aware that the wounds of Armenians, Yazidis, Kurds, Kildans, Assyrians, Arabs and those of other components of the Middle East haven’t healed yet, Turkey continues to violate international law by maintaining its policy of sabotaging any attempt to build peace… We’d like to suggest having a no-fly zone for Rojava… Many lives are at stake… The no-fly zone in Kurdistan region saved my life from Saddam’s airstrikes. A no-fly zone in Rojava will save thousands, if not millions, of lives.
Widad was featured in the October 2015’s Peace Now Newsletter under the Peace Speaks. Peace Now aims to enact a global resolution for the establishment of infrastructures to support a Culture of Peace.
“Given that we live in a world where conflicts are increasingly associated with socio-economic disparities and cultural and/or religious differences, we should aim to promote dialogue among different cultures, religions and groups. We should never take peace for granted. We need to create linkages between different cultures and populations in order to transform lives without changing their spiritual identity. Intercultural dialogue in particular is an indispensable means that has the power to break down barriers, reverse negative misperceptions and transform individuals, thereby changing the world.”
In 2014, Widad was invited to write a preface for the publication entitled Pollution Politics: power, accountability and toxic remnants of war. The publication was launched during an event held in London on 2 July 2014, and chaired by Widad.
“It is believed that toxic remnants of war may likely be associated with the risk of birth defects, the risk of developing certain forms of cancer, or may adversely affect the neurological development of children and the reproductive processes of humans and animals. They may also impair the function of the respiratory and immune systems, compromising the ability to respond to pathogens and other harmful organisms.
Across the world, the lack of accountability for the harm to the environment and public health caused by conflict and military activities undermines global efforts to help fragile countries recover from armed conflicts.”
On the occasion of the 2013 World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20, Widad called for more attention to the plight of millions of refugees and displaced persons.
“Today we direct our attention to all those who have to deal with uncertainty on a daily basis and those who are in urgent need for life-saving help… Direct and/or indirect effects of armed conflict threaten their basic human rights. Often, they have to wait for decades for their fate to be decided…
We are especially worried about the alarming numbers of refugees from Syria that have fled to over-crowded camps in neighboring countries… We call upon all Arabic countries to fulfill their responsibilities towards the Syrian refugees… At the same time, we urge both sides in the Syrian conflict to respect international humanitarian law; refrain from using indiscriminate weapons in urban areas and to stop using civilians as human shields.”
In 2010, Widad addressed the UN Fourth Biennial Meeting of States, held in New York to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.
“We need to overcome the challenges and seek practical solutions. We must replace the culture of war with the culture of peace.
The quality of life in our world does not depend on the conflicts that arise, but on our response to them. Policy-makers continue to discover that they cannot solve today’s problems with yesterday’s mindset…
Although peace can be negotiated by governments, it is ultimately the responsibility of the people themselves to make it last. All of us have a role to play to create a world in which peace can flourish.”
In 2008, Widad addressed the United Nations First Committee, emphasizing the importance of adopting and implementing a robust and a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty.
“Mr. Chairman, some States are concerned that a treaty based on human rights could be applied subjectively to prevent them from receiving the weapons they need for legitimate security purposes. However, the concepts of human rights and international humanitarian law are objectively defined in many international agreements.”
On 3 March 2008, Widad took part in a panel titled The Impact of Guns on Women’s Lives, organized by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and IANSA. Other speakers included Dr. Wendy Cukier from Ryerson University and Mr. Daniel Prins, UNODA Conventional Arms Branch Chief.
“Male-dominated societies frequently justify small arms possession by claiming that they are necessary to protect defenseless women. But what we see instead is that these very women become victims of gun violence…
Rape as form of ethnic cleansing, as well as a war strategy has been going on for a long time…”