At the G20: Open letter to leaders - from Syria

Sep 05, 2013, 09:26 ET from World Vision Canada

Thursday, 5 September

TORONTO, Sept. 5, 2013 /CNW/ -

Dear G20 leaders,
A peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis is now more important than ever. Today, we beg you to use all of your political influence at the G20 to set a date for peace talks to end this conflict. Nothing can be more important for you today than to use every opportunity to do this.

The eyes of Syrian children and millions of others around the world are on you, looking for leadership in this incredibly difficult, but surely not impossible, job of mediating peace in Syria.

The conflict in Syria has seen the deaths of more than 100,000 people and reached another new milestone just this week; two million Syrians are now registered as refugees, and about half of them are children. Worse than the numbers that prove this is the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world are the pleas we are hearing from children where we work in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Mothers who must now, alone, look after their surviving children. Children who have experienced unspeakable cruelty and still yearn to return home.

Thirteen-year-old Isra is one of those two million refugees. She is one of the faces behind the huge numbers.

"I want to go back home. I don't care. I can't take it anymore. We're better off in the heart of conflict than in such conditions. We don't even have food to eat. We can't afford to buy anything. My cousin died young. My grandma's side of the family all died. There's no one left now. Not a single one of them. My dad is trapped in the crossfire. They rained bombs down on us day and night. My sister had just shut the door when the mortar shell fell right through the middle of her house. Her house is a pile of rubble now. Who cares about our suffering?"

We deeply condemn the use of chemical weapons, as well as the many human rights violations that have been committed in this conflict. But only a politically negotiated ceasefire and lasting peace can offer hope to the children of Syria.

For more than two years, we've been saying that this conflict needs to stop. In that time, thousands of children have died. Countless more have been injured, displaced and robbed of their innocence. You, gathered here for the G20, have a previously agreed-to responsibility to prioritize diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful solutions.

We urge you today to set a date for peace talks where those involved with this conflict can negotiate an immediate ceasefire, and a lasting peaceful solution. The worst thing for children right now is more fighting. When will you say "enough"?

Yours sincerely,
Conny Lenneberg
Regional Leader, World Vision Middle East
On behalf of all the World Vision staff working on the Syria crisis

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SOURCE World Vision Canada