Over the past few months, UAI has been increasingly concerned by the tragedy unfolding in northern Syria and in particular in the shrinking pocket of Idlib province where hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped between the advancing Syrian forces and its allies and the closed Turkish border.
On 13 February, UAI issued a Declaration and asked all concerned citizens to add their names to the Declaration and use it in advocacy vis-à-vis governments and other authorities. Some 220 UAI supporters have signed the Declaration and it has been circulated to many more.
UAI also wrote to all governments in Europe, to the heads of European institutions and to the UN Secretary-General asking them to act to put an end to the crimes committed by warring parties, and take necessary steps for the safe passage, protection and assistance to civilians, as set out in the Declaration. The office of the UN Secretary-General expressed its appreciation for the Declaration saying it was “welcome and timely”. We had pledged to report back to UAI members and supporters on action taken by states. Despite a reminder sent on 13 March to the Geneva-based permanent missions of the states and institutions, to which it had been sent, no reactions have been received so far. Our UAI colleagues in the UK have been more successful, however. UAI in the UK wrote to the Minister of State in the Foreign Office, James Cleverly, urging the British government to intervene to prevent further atrocities. The Minister responded on 17 April. His letter can be read here
We welcome the Minister’s comprehensive response and are pressing him to put the whole weight of the UK Government behind the appeal by the UN Secretary-General for a global ceasefire, including of course in Syria.