Oxfam calls for greater G7 support for Syria peace talks

Now, more than ever, Oxfam urges a redoubling of efforts to find a lasting and peaceful solution to this conflict and to offer safe refuge for the Syrian people who are fleeing for their lives.

April 11, 2017

As G7 foreign ministers meeting in Lucca, Italy, failed to reach agreement on sanctions, Oxfam has called for a renewed push on Syria peace talks. 

Elisa Baccioti, Oxfam's Campaigns Director attending the event in Lucca, said: "Now, more than ever, Oxfam urges a redoubling of efforts to find a lasting and peaceful solution to this conflict and to offer safe refuge for the Syrian people who are fleeing for their lives. After the discussions held at the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, G7 members should put now their weight behind the Geneva peace talks and push all warring parties to come to the table and reach a deal that will guarantee full respect for human rights in Syria.

"The innocent families who were killed in Idlib are no different from the people who are attempting to seek refuge in Europe, the US and around the world. More than ever, Syrians need genuine protection from the violence that they have suffered over these six long years. G7 countries must increase the provision of both refuge and assistance to the people of Syria, ceasing all discriminatory bans and all agreements - such as the EU-Turkey agreement - that are failing refugees, leaving them in miserable conditions and vulnerable to abuses."

Oxfam also called for an end to granting aid to Libya conditional on its tackling migration and reducing cross border movement:

"On Mediterranean States and Libya, G7 Foreign Ministers discussed the need to work towards national reconciliation, consolidate the democratic process, state institutions, social and economic development and increase the capacity to fight criminal activities. While these are all crucial steps to be addressed, we urge Italy and the G7 members to restrain from granting support for Libya conditional on its tackling migration and reducing cross border movement. 

"Development aid must keep its purpose of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, and meeting humanitarian needs – and not be used as a means of externalizing border controls. By making aid conditional on border management objectives, G7 countries risk doing long-term harm to people living in aid-receiving countries. Distributing aid to countries in exchange for cooperation to increase returns or reduce cross border movement may cut off critical opportunities for people to trade and earn money for their families and may also increase aid dependency. 
 
"Any support for border management should put the security of all individuals first and respect human rights and the rights of asylum-seekers. It should not be used as an instrument to reduce the movement of people across international borders, as this risks exposing people to violence and denying people their right to seek asylum.  It is critical that support for border management is accompanied by credible monitoring schemes to ensure that implementation is in line with international law. If this is not possible, no deal should be agreed."

On the fight against poverty and food crises:

"On the current food crises in Africa, the G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers communiqué mentions little on hunger and nothing on poverty. Oxfam now calls on G7 leaders to act decisively at the Taormina Summit in May to work with governments of affected countries to respond to needs in famine-affected areas and to hold back the hunger in areas at risk. A massive injection of aid, backed with diplomatic clout and the necessary political will could save hundreds of thousands of lives and stop the worst from happening in countries such as Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. 

"Every famine is man-made, representing either catastrophic human failure or a political choice. But this grim fact means that we have the power to prevent and end it."

Contact information

Melanie Gallant
613-240-3047
melanie.gallant@oxfam.ca