By ACNS staff
Members of the Anglican Communion are being asked to sign a petition asking the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa - to urge Syria’s leadership to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians.
Four million people trapped in Syria need humanitarian aid, more than 2 million of them children. Schools and hospitals have been destroyed. According to Mandeep Tiwana, Policy and Advocacy Manager of CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa) who initiated the petition, children as young as eight have been used as human shields, and one in every three Syrian children has been injured.
Mr Tiwana 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.
"We are hoping for signatures from Anglicans and Episcopalians around the globe - the petition will be delivered to the BRICS countries who are meeting at their annual summit March 26-27 in Durban, South Africa.
"In addition to the petition, we will also be running a social media campaign next week in which we will be co-ordinating a global call on Twitter for 26 March. The exact tweet which includes a link to an open letter from influential BRICS voices that we will be asking people to use on the day is 'Pls RT: Sign the petition & call on leaders of the #BRICS countries to save #Syria’s Future Today 'http://bit.ly/105lR7g'
"We hope that digital Anglicans will want to help us spread the word online too."
The petition, which can be signed here http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_the_suffering_in_Syria/reads:
“To the governments of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa: “As concerned citizens from around the world we call on you to stand with the people of Syria and send a clear message to President Bashar al-Assad that he should grant the UN permission to cross Syria’s borders to reach civilians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Unimpeded humanitarian access to all parts of Syria coordinated by the UN and authorised by the government - to be delivered anytime, anywhere, and by the most effective means - is a call that no leader, indeed no human being, could in good conscience deny. We appeal to the BRICS to demonstrate their leadership and take one step to easing the horror of Syria’s worsening crisis.”