Saturday, 21 December 2013

Don't forget Syria's civilians this Christmas

I noticed a 24 hour news channel in my gym earlier, whose on-screen headline stated, inanely: "CHRISTMAS SHOPPING". Elsewhere, in the real world, millions of Syrian refugees huddle together in camps dotted around the Middle East (one if which I visited in June in Kurdistan Region, Iraq).

A worse fate befalls those left in their home country - a country where the world chose, collectively, to ignore crimes against humanity and the subjugation of human rights such as the "right to life, liberty and security of person" which it proclaimed in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. 

We must not turn our back on Syria's civilians, and we must not accept the argument of those who claim that our responsibility ends at the gates of refugee camps. We are all made less secure when our fellow humans are treated so appallingly by a dictatorship, yet the nations of the world choose not to protect them. 

Only this week, it was reported that the Assad regime continues to rain barrel bombs (literally barrels containing high explosive and shrapnel, normally dropped from helicopters) on civilian areas. And yet we were and are told that a No Fly Zone, like the one that protected Iraq's Kurds from the Saddam Hussein regime's genocide against them, is impractical and unachievable. This despite our multi-multi-million pound Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes, which we were told were essential in order for us to have the capability of breaching advanced air defences. 

Most of the civilians murdered in Syria were killed and continue to be killed by conventional weapons, not WMDs. Yet the deal on WMDs is dressed up as a diplomatic triumph. Only those sitting in safe, secure countries are in a position to exult diplomacy in such a way. Let's hope that the Geneva II negotiations can silence the Weapons of HUMAN Destruction. Thus far, diplomacy and expressions of outrage have not halted the regime's jets, helicopters, mortars and sieges.

Inaction in the face of great evil, is a form of action. We are witnessing a disastrous non-intervention. We must do more and not forget Syria's civilians as we celebrate Christmas. 

Meg Munn MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan, told me earlier today that there are now 13,000 children at the Domiz refugee camp, yet there are just four schools. 

Please donate to help build another school in the Domiz refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq .

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