Last week, Trócaire and three Syrian organisations we support, attended the ‘Future of Syria’ conference in Brussels to meet with Irish and UK politicians and push for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Representatives from three local Syrian organisations Trócaire supports met with Minister Ciaran Cannon at the Brussels conference and conveyed harrowing firsthand accounts of life in Syria.
Fadi Hallisso of Basmeh & Zeitooneh, Rouba Mhaissen of Sawa Foundation and Lubna Kanawati of Women Now for Development, told Minister Cannon of the risks they face carrying out their work in Syria, the trauma being felt by Syrians families, and the abuses women are experiencing.
Minister Cannon said that he heard the despair from the Syrian people and that the Irish Government will continue to push, as strongly as possible, within Europe for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
Niall O’Keeffe, Trócaire’s Head of Region for Middle East & Asia said
‘It was really important that Minister Cannon got to hear directly from our partners who are risking their lives while working with communities in Syria.
These conferences can be very formal and bureaucratic, but hearing Fadi, Rouba and Lubna’s eyewitness accounts of the daily horror for innocent Syrians, was really powerful and I hope had an impact on Minister Cannon.’
The Syria conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 people, with a further 5.5 million fleeing the country and 6.1 million people internally displaced within Syria.
Ahead of the conference, 3,853 emails were sent by Trócaire supporters in the Republic and Northern Ireland, asking their TDs and MPs to do more to protect civilians in Syria.
In a statement, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D said,
"Solidarity alone does not address the root causes of the Syrian crisis. A peaceful resolution to the Syria conflict is now imperative, and Ireland fully supports UN-led political negotiations."
Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, represented the UK at the conference. She stressed, "The only solution to end the suffering is a political settlement that brings peace."
Ireland has pledged an additional €25 million to the humanitarian response in Syria for 2018, while the UK has pledged an additional £450 million.
Right now, families across Syria are living in fear of the next attack. A peaceful resolution to this conflict must be found on behalf of all Syrian civilians.
It is vital that we in the Republic and Northern Ireland keep pressure on our public representatives to push for peace in Syria.