On this UN Day of Action for Peace in Syria, we join all friends of peace around the world in calling the international community:
- To immediately halt all aerial attacks on Aleppo and to expedite medical evacuations and unimpeded humanitarian access. Simultaneously efforts must be encouraged to restore a nationwide ceasefire with strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
- To lift all sieges in accordance with the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2165, and to especially demand an immediate end to the “surrender or starve” siege strategy by the Syrian government. The UN should also strictly adhere to the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.
- To protect civilians and promote accountability in Syria. EU member states need to support current calls for the UN General Assembly to hold a special Emergency Session on Syria.
- To support the hundreds of peaceful Syrian civil society organizations delivering services and laying the foundations for a future peaceful Syria. Such organizations form a middle ground in between the Syrian regime and extremist terrorist groups.
- To impose additional coercive measures on Russia and the government of Syria if they continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in Aleppo and other places in Syria.
- To undertake bolder diplomatic efforts like the recent condemnation of Russia and the announcement of a dialogue with key regional actors to prepare the ground for a political transition and post-conflict preparations.
- To demand that Russia stop its military support of the Syrian authorities and extend the short term cease-fire.
- To impose an arms embargo to all warring parties in the Syrian conflict.
Syria is and will continue to be a broken, war-torn place for years to come, perhaps decades, if the international community doesn’t act more forcefully to stop the conflict. We call upon the international community to increase its support for a solution in Syria and bring the killing to an end.§
Faith in action: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) offers a petition to governments to act in solidarity and a 5-minute film based on a poem entitled ‘What They Took With Them’ by Jenifer Toksvig, inspired by first person testimony from refugees of items they took with them when they were forced to flee. http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/us/
Photo: Syrian children wave peace signs on October 2 as they stand in front of their tents at a refugee camp in Arsal, a Sunni Muslim town in eastern Lebanon near the Syrian border. The town has become a safe haven for war-weary Syrian rebels. Photo by Flicker user William Proby and licensed in the public domain.