New York, NY, April 7, 2017 — Global outrage over this week’s chemical weapons attack must evolve into concrete diplomatic action that will ensure the protection of civilians and bring about a lasting and long overdue peace. World leaders must turn their attention to urgently stopping further loss of life - the only true protection from conflict is the end of conflict.
Now that the US administration has chosen to deploy military force, they have a greater responsibility to redouble diplomatic efforts toward establishing a credible path towards peace. President Trump’s fury over horrific loss of life in Idlib is welcome, but we urge his administration to support humanitarian assistance, at risk in his proposed budgets, and the country’s proven and effective refugee resettlement system.
President Trump must immediately abandon the travel ban that undermines families that are trapped in conflict zones with nowhere to turn - doing so would swiftly align the stated compassion toward Syrian refugees with policy. A thoughtful reconsideration of this critical, life-saving program also reaffirms America is a compassionate nation willing to extend a lifeline that saves lives during historic crises.
David Miliband, president and CEO of the IRC, said:
“There has been striking political unity around the need to end impunity for war crimes. That unity needs to be maintained and built upon. This has been yet another terrible week for the people of Syria. The only good things that could come out of it are, first, global determination to prevent further atrocities in the conduct of the war, and second, renewed drive in the search for peace. The world’s attention must not be allowed to waver. For America to lead it needs to align foreign and domestic policy behind its new commitment to the people of Syria.”
The administration and lawmakers must also reconsider the deep cuts proposed to foreign assistance. Both would send a strong signal that America is a compassionate nation willing to extend a precious lifeline to save lives during historic crises. Current international and domestic positions are jarring and send dangerous mixed signals.
Effective diplomacy abroad needs consistent and supportive action at home. America must prove that it stands up for innocent civilians by reexamining its support systems for those under attack.