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On 25 November 2016 an exhibition titled ‘Your Voice’ will take place in As Suwayda, Syria, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The exhibition is organized by UMA, an NGO supporting women.

Artists from all over the world are invited to:
(1.) Submit a picture of an artwork or a digital file related to Women Rights. The maximum print size is 30×40 cm.
(2.) Take a selfie with the piece of art plus your name and the logo (click here) of UMA Organization For Supporting Women (more info here) from As Suwayda on a paper.
(3.) Both files (JPEG / RGB / resolution 300 DPI) must be sent by WeTransfer before 19 November 2016 to:

A little bit of freedom
‘Under the regime of Assad this kind of activities was impossible. Now some militia groups are in control of As Suwayda side by side with the Assad regime, so there is a little bit of freedom. The police asked for the nature of this organization and they allow it,’ explains Aktham Abu Fakher, who fled Syria in 2014 because of his activities in human rights. Akthams wife, Amany Abu Daqa, organizes this exhibition on women rights. She started UMA some years ago together with some friends. All still live in As Suwayda. Akhtam doesn’t. Currently he lives in Willemstad, Curaҫao.

‘I came to Curaҫao through Brazil and Venezuela on 19 Januari 2016. After I fled Syria in 2014, this was the cheapest, safest and easiest way to get away and build a new life. I wanted to ask for asylum in Willemstad, part of The Netherlands.’ But the island isn’t part of the country: it is only part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The consequences of this mistake: ‘Curaҫao is a small country. There is no law related to political refugees.’

I have to wait
Aktham was put in detention right after he asked for help at Punda police station. ‘They treated me like an illegal person. Even worse: after three days they told me to send me back to Syria, they saw me as a terrorist. I was shocked. Back in Syria they will kill me because of my human rights activities over there, that’s why I fled the country!’ But Aktham wasn’t sent back to Syria. 23 March 2016 he was released. Since this moment he has to register with the local police on a weekly basis.

I ask you to make art
‘Until now nothing happened. I get some support from the Islamic community and a lady working for UNHCR visited me. But she told me my case is insecure and I have to wait, maybe for two years. My wife and son are still in Syria. I am not there, I can’t do a thing. So I decided to help my wife and her organization to make this exhibition – that’s why I ask you to make art.’