Montreal, July 5, 2016- Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is joining with the Caritas Internationalis network, of which it is a member, for the launch of a global campaign called Syria: Peace is Possible, to meet the needs of the Syrian people, whose country has been facing a devastating crisis for over five years.
Since the war began, 13.5 million people in Syria, almost half of whom are children, have been in need of humanitarian aid. There are another 4.8 million people who have taken refuge in the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. “We must never forget, however, that migrants, rather than simply being a statistic, are first of all people who have faces, names and individual stories,” declared Pope Francis on Lesbos, Greece in April 2016.
The world campaign for peace in Syria led by the Caritas network supports the three recommendations formulated by Development and Peace last March, as part of a national advocacy campaign addressed to the Government of Canada. The goal of this campaign is to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and to find a peaceful solution to the conflict:
- To proactively support an inclusive peace process;
- To ensure access to humanitarian aid and the protection of civilians; and
- To promote social cohesion between Syrian refugees and their host populations who are themselves already vulnerable.
In the fall of 2012, Development and Peace first began responding to the Syrian crisis. Since then, the organization, in collaboration with about 20 local partners, has invested more than $26M in humanitarian aid (food, health care, education, rebuilding of livelihoods, psychosocial support, etc.) and in local peace initiatives, which has assisted more than 650,000 Syrians, in Syria itself and in neighbouring countries.
“Peace is possible in Syria,” declared Pope Francis, speaking in support for the campaign, before adding that “some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace. How can you believe in someone who caresses you with the right hand and strikes you with the left hand? […] we must all acknowledge that there is no military solution in Syria; there is only a political solution.”
In solidarity with the Syrian people, Development and Peace will organize a national day of prayer in Canada on Tuesday, October 4, i.e. the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.