Letter to the Irish Times Editor on June 29th, 2016 (unpublished): Re: Abandonment of UN Neutrality in Syria

Dear Sir,
Members of the Oireachtas were briefed yesterday on a damning report which roundly condemned the UN for taking sides in the Syrian conflict and diverting billions of Euros in aid to areas controlled by the Assad regime. Maureen O’Sullivan TD at the request of the Irish Syrian Solidarity Movement organised the informal briefing at which Roger Hearn, the former head of the UN Relief & Works Agency in Damascus, and one of the key informants behind the report, spoke to TDs and answered questions. The main conclusion from the briefing is that Irish taxpayers through our contributions to the UN are helping to fund Bashar al-Assad’s brutal war against his own people. This is because it allows him to effectively weaponise starvation in denying UN humanitarian aid to the almost one million Syrians under siege. This situation is a direct violation of Irish neutrality in that Ireland is now taking sides in the Syrian conflict. The UN has let us down in abandoning its mandated neutrality in capitulating to Assad’s demands, especially in vetoing aid to besieged areas.

The 54 page report titled ‘Taking Sides’ was signed by 50 civil society organisation in Syria and offers clear evidence the UN has tarnished its legacy and facilitates the Assad regime’s brutal starvation sieges on opposition held areas. Irish taxpayers have been made complicit in this starvation war against innocent civilians through our generous contribution through Irish Aid to UN humanitarian operations. We call on the government to immediately demand that UN secretary general end this violation of UN neutrality and ensure aid is delivered to the one million Syrians under siege by food air drops if necessary.

Yours sincerely,

Irish Syria Solidarity Movement

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