“Five years ago, the leaders of the humanitarian organizations of the United Nations made an urgent appeal to all those who could put an end to the conflict in Syria and asked them to enact all possible efforts to save the Syrian people.” Enough is enough,” they said, of so much suffering and bloodshed. That was five years ago. Today, the bloodshed continues. And the suffering is further aggravated by the possible international escalation of armed conflict.
From its office at the United Nations, the Vincentian International Network for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (VIN-JPIC) joins in deep solidarity with the call that Pope Francis sent out today: “While I pray incessantly for peace, and I invite all people of good will to continue doing the same, I appeal again to all political leaders to make justice and peace prevail… nothing can justify the instruments of mass-extermination against the population … I ask that policy makers and the military choose the other path, that of negotiation, the only one that can lead to peace and not to death and destruction.”
We cannot remain indifferent to the excessive suffering to which the Syrian people are being subjected. Syria has become a cruel laboratory of war, the epicenter of the violation of the human rights of a nation, the space that reveals the ineffectiveness of international diplomacy and the conflict of geopolitical interests of the great powers. More than ever, the world needs to hear a public and collective voice that demands an end to these atrocities. This conflict and its consequences affect us all in a world and a society that is always interconnected. Approximately, 13.5 million people need URGENT humanitarian aid inside Syria, this without counting the millions who have fled leaving everything they had behind them. We are talking about millions of human beings whose lives and whose future are in danger.
TODAY we would like to join the voice of the humanitarian organizations of the world that for years have been demanding the immediate resolution to this conflict. We ask those who have the capacity to prevent this suffering and who can, and therefore should, act now. Until there is a diplomatic solution to the conflict, such actions should include:
- Unrestricted and constant access for humanitarian organizations to provide immediate relief to all those who need it within Syria;
- Temporary Suspension of the conflict for humanitarian intervention(s), and unconditional and supervised ceasefire to allow the distribution of food and other emergency aid among civilians, to organize vaccination and health campaigns, and to facilitate the return of children to school;
- Cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure to maintain the safety of schools, hospitals and water supplies;
- Freedom of movement for all civilians and immediate cessation of sieges everywhere.
‘Blessed are those who seek peace because they will be called sons of God’ (Mt 5, 9). As people of faith we join today with all the builders of peace in every corner of humanity. This common humanity is, together with our land, our common home, a house for whose care we are all responsible.