Monday 25 March 2013

BRICS Summit must press Assad to allow UN Aid Access

This statement was issued on 25 March 2013

BRICS Summit must press Assad to allow UN Aid Access says Anglican Archbishop

‘BRICS leaders at this week’s Durban summit must act urgently for the sake of Syria’s suffering children’ says the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba. ‘They have a unique opportunity – and unique moral obligation – to urge President Assad to allow the UN to fulfil its humanitarian aid role in the country. So far he has refused, and the human cost is almost unimaginable. 4 million civilians need aid, 2 million of them children. Reports indicate that one in three Syrian children has been injured since the conflict began.’ Dr Makgoba stressed that ‘The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa together have great influence in Damascus, which they can, and must, use to press the President to end this suffering, by giving the necessary permissions for the UN to do its vital work.’

The Archbishop was speaking as he returned from England, where, with Christian and other religious leaders, from the Anglican Communion and around the world, he participated in the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. ‘The sense of us being one global human family was very strong. As people of faith, we know we share a common commitment for the well-being of all God’s children. Politicians, especially heads of state and of government, must similarly strive together for the good of every person, and of the planet we inhabit’ he said, ‘and this is why all citizens must press their leaders to live up to their responsibilities.’

Therefore, said the Archbishop, he was also urging Anglicans, and all people of good will, to support the global call on BRICS leaders to act. ‘Anglicans around the world are being asked to sign the on-line petition “Stop the Suffering in Syria”. We cannot stand by while the Syrian government prevents food, medicine, and other necessities reaching its own people. I pray that Anglicans here, and everyone who shares our concerns to alleviate this worsening crisis, will add their voice to this call.’

The petition can be signed at

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
Inquiries: Ms Wendy Kelderman 021 763 1320 (office hours)