Support the beginning of a political process in Syria
The United Nations will bring Syria’s warring parties together on Friday 29 January 2016 in Geneva to begin talks towards ending nearly five years of conflict.
Pax Christi International is hopeful that the international community will achieve a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, putting a long overdue end to the sufferings of the population.
The popular uprising was sparked by a Syrian government crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in early 2011. Islamic State militants have used the chaos and the political gap to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. Some 4.3 million Syrians have fled the country and more than 6.5 million are internally displaced.
World leaders must recognise that there is no military solution in Syria; only a political one is viable. On 18 December 2015, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international roadmap for a Syrian peace process that was agreed among major powers in Vienna earlier that year.
Pax Christi International supports the U.N. Security Council resolution and also urges that:
- the use of banned weapons such as landmines or cluster bombs, and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, be ended immediately;
- all parties immediately stop supplying weapons to fighting factions in Syria;
- a ceasefire that is carefully monitored be put in place as soon as possible;
- humanitarian access to all in need inside Syria be given the highest priority. Starvation as a weapon of war can never be accepted;
- attacks on civilians be stopped at once;
- all sieges by all parties to the conflict be lifted immediately.
These steps should accompany the Geneva negotiations.
The international community must support peace talks towards building a national unity government that comes from within Syria. Unity should be given priority above conflict and division. All parties involved should renew their commitment to ending the violence and re-establishing the unity of the country.
Pax Christi International is hopeful that talks among all stakeholders involved in the conflict will lead to a firm timeline for creating a unity government and will ultimately result in elections.
Now is the Time for Peace
Pax Christi International supports the Caritas Internationalis global campaign 2016 for peace in Syria. The campaign aims to mobilise millions of people around the world to call for an end to the 5 year war that has destroyed Syria, destabilised the region and caused one of the greatest refugee crises in modern times. That campaign comes at the request of national Caritas branches in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Jerusalem and Lebanon.
Pax Christi International also believe that the donor conference for the Syrian refugees taking place in London on 3 February 2016 is extremely important. The international community must put in place sufficient finances to ensure the reconstruction and development in Syria. While welcoming refugees with dignity and respect abroad, we must work towards a Syria to which they can one day return.
Brussels, 22 January 2016