BRICS countries asked to support humanitarian effort in Syria

Published 25 March 2013  |  Mark Caplin
AP
Syrian women who fled their homes start a fire next to their tents at a camp for displaced Syrians, in the village of Atmeh, Syria

Anglicans worldwide are being asked to sign a petition urging the BRICS countries to support humanitarian efforts in conflict-torn Syria.

Aid agencies put the number of people needing humanitarian assistance in Syria and neighbouring countries at five million. An estimated two million children trapped within Syria are in need of aid.

The petition has been launched by CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa.

It asks Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to "send a clear message" to Syria's leadership to grant the UN permission to cross the country's borders and bring humanitarian relief to civilians.

Specifically, it urges "unimpeded humanitarian access" to all parts of the country to allow aid to be delivered "any time, anywhere and by the most effective means".

"[That] is a call that no leader, indeed no human being, could in good conscience deny," the petition reads.

"We appeal to the BRICS to demonstrate their leadership and take one step to easing the horror of Syria's worsening crisis."

A social media campaign is running alongside the petition, with a global call to sign the petition going out via Twitter on Tuesday.

Digital Anglicans are being asked to use their social media outlets to help spread the word.

The petition will be handed in to representatives of the BRICS countries when they meet at their annual summit in Durban, South Africa, this week.

Mandeep Tiwana, policy and advocacy manager at CIVICUS, said: "Syrians need food and medicine, but the UN says it needs permission from the Syrian regime to deliver aid across borders into rebel controlled areas. Assad refuses to consent to such access.

"The BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa – are the only powerful governments left able to compel him to do so."

The petition can be signed at http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_the_suffering_in_Syria/

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