Nobel Women Peace Laureates speak out on humanitarian intervention, not bombs, in Syria

Lys Anzia – WNN Breaking

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams talks in October 2012 about women, oil & climate change with the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Image: NWI

(WNN) Ottowa, Ontario, CANADA, AMERICAS: As the line is being drawn between those who do, and those who do not, believe military action is a solution to Syria’s increasing conflict, six women Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have marked the line to say that they do not support any plans for U.S. bombing in Syria.

“We hope that US legislators, like their British counterparts, will recognize that there is no public appetite to resolve this problem through more bombs and more violence,” said Laureate Jody Williams, who received a  Nobel peace prize in 1997 for her work establishing the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which prohibits landmine use during conflict and war. “Americans know that any intervention—far from being a strategic move—will only lead to more loss of lives and even possibly to retaliation against Americans,” Williams continued.

Williams, who was a pivotal force behind the forming of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, has publicly conveyed her dismay at the drone strikes by U.S. military on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. She is also one of the leading forces in the movement for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

In addition to Williams, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, Maired Maguire of Ireland, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, Tawakkol Karman of Yemen and Shirin Ebadi of Iran have signed on to the formal statement that calls on the United Nations to move quickly to refer the illegal use of chemical weapons, considered to be a ‘crime against humanity’ to the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC – International Criminal Court.

“We call upon the UN Security Council to accept its responsibility to act in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria instead of the ongoing posturing of its members based on their own self-interest instead of concern about the people of Syria. We urge the Security Council to ensure the nonviolent resolution of this crisis within the ongoing crisis of the civil war in Syria. We call upon the Security Council to refer the matter to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). We also call on the International Community to urgently convene the Syria Peace Conference, known as Geneva II, and to ensure women meaningfully participate,” outlined the statement made by the women Nobel Laureates.

Global human rights organization Amnesty International also stepped up to the plate yesterday to make their position clear. Humanitarian, not military, action is what is needed the most now inside Syria says the organization.

Amnesty International is not alone in their opinion of the crisis. What they convey is the ‘proper’ use of intervention, as other human rights organizations are also communicating that military bombing must not be part of what ‘innocent citizens’ on the ground in Syria must now face.

At the St. Petersburg, Russia G20 Summit meeting, set to end today, U.S. President Obama has been searching for global allies for U.S. military bombing operations that force the Syrian government to think before using chemical weapons again. But bombing as a deterrent to greater violence in the country may be doubtful say those on the side of humanitarian efforts as they outline that those under the bombs are the most vulnerable targets.

During the sessions at the G20 in Russia the President enlisted 10 nations to sign a statement stating that strong measures against Syria needed to be made. But the document falls short of mentioning bombing as a solution.

“Working together, these powerful countries can and must come up with a plan of action to ease the current humanitarian crisis,” said Salil Shetty, current Secretary General of Amnesty International, yesterday.

The need for a focus on international communication and humanitarian intervention is of prime importance, outlined the UN following its initial investigation at the site where suspected use of chemical weapons used in the Ghoutta suburb outside the city of Damascus were made. It is now estimated that the numbers of those killed by the supected chemicals may be up to 1,500 people, including many children.

“I must warn that ill-considered military action could cause serious and tragic consequences, and with an increased threat of further sectarian violence,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said during sideline remarks made while he attended the G20 Summit.

“We should explore ways to avoid further militarization of the conflict and revitalize the search for a political settlement instead,” the Secretary General continued.

While the situation is bringing oppositional views to the public. Members of the U.S. legislature are also at odds in their opinions of the efficiency of U.S. strikes in Syria. The White House in Washington, D.C. now appears to be looking for a consensus of U.S. congressional support on the issue, which may not be forthcoming.

“Any confirmed use of chemical weapons is of course very serious,” said Amnesty International in a published document statement made on August 29, 2013. “The use of such prohibited weapons would be a serious violation of international humanitarian law and constitute a war crime. (As is the deliberate targeting of civilians using weapons of any kind.),” continued Amnesty International on August 29.

“Any attack by the USA, UK, France or others against Syria will be the start of an international armed conflict between the Syrian government and foreign military forces,” they continued.


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