Syria: Diplomacy, de-escalation and genuine humanitarian assistance needed
In the wake of the horrific chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Australian health professionals have called for an end to the war in that country and far greater humanitarian aid for its victims. The President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War, Dr Margaret Beavis, said that Australia needs to dramatically increase assistance for refugees and work to urgently reinvigorate diplomatic efforts.
Both the civil war and the conflict with IS continue to destroy lives. The US is now effectively fighting on two sides- both against IS and the Syrian government, which is also fighting IS. MAPW notes that while American missile strikes are said to be for the protection of civilians, massive cuts to US aid programs assisting Syrian refugees are proposed. There has been extensive Russian involvement in war crimes in Syria, and the Assad regime has an appalling human rights and war crimes record. Over 500,000 civilians have died.
“Australia needs to dramatically increase assistance for refugees and work to urgently reinvigorate diplomatic efforts” said MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis.
Other possible steps include:
- working toward an arms moratorium on all sides
- an international peace conference which includes both state and non-state actors
- pushing the International Criminal Court to indict all those accused of committing atrocities
“Domestic political considerations, which we now know led Australia into Iraq in 2003, should not drive wars in foreign countries.” said Dr Beavis. “Escalating the violence will perpetuate it, not prevent it. Our government has an ethical responsibility to do what we can to de-escalate this conflict and to provide help for Syrian people fleeing this appalling war.” said Dr Beavis.
For media comment please contact:
Dr Margaret Beavis (President) 0401 995 699
Dr Sue Wareham (Vice President) 0407 924 152