Pax Christi International: Stop Arms Deliveries to Syria
Categories: Articles:Peacemaking |
Published: 07/08/2014 |
The tragedy of war and the horrendous suffering of the Syrian people continue without respite. Pax Christi International believes that this armed confrontation – which continues to destabilize the region affecting mostly civilians – can be stopped if the international community focuses on promoting serious political negotiations and discourages violence in all its forms.
The death toll in Syria is over 160,000 people while more than 680,000 people have been injured. Almost half the Syrian population has been displaced, including close to three million people (Source: UNHCR) who are registered as refugees in neighbouring countries, where resources are not sufficient to fulfill their needs.
Nonviolent civilian initiatives thwarted by arms flows fuelling the war Pax Christi International highlights once again that in 2011 thousands of Syrians went into the streets peacefully calling for freedom and reforms. Our movement has continued to support civilians who are trying to address the conflict through nonviolent means and actions. We want to underline the important efforts being made by peaceful Syrians to sustain the fabric of society. Those courageous women and men are essential to the new Syria that is in the making.
However, international actors – including governments – are fuelling the armed conflict by supplying or financing weapons and ammunitions, training combatants and even sending military contingents to one or more sides. Some think-tanks have made efforts to document arms transfers but, in general, there is a serious lack of accountability in this regard. The European Union imposed an arms embargo on the Syrian government that lasted for only a few months. Arms transfers have continued throughout the war with levels of international involvement that suggest a “proxy war” in Syria. This international involvement has also created frequent deadlocks in UN Security Council debates on issues regarding Syria.
Pax Christi International does not believe that there is a military solution to the Syrian conflict – on the contrary, its ramifications are becoming more and more deadly for the region. The international community, especially state actors directly or indirectly providing military support to the parties in conflict, should redirect their efforts and launch immediately a bold diplomatic initiative to facilitate a negotiated solution. The international engagement that led to the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons was a positive effort and shows that effective collaborative action is possible. Read more and take action here
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