Around the US, many children are getting ready to head back to school. But for hundreds of thousands of Syrian children forced to flee from the violence in their country – school isn't an option.
Instead, those refugee children struggle to survive the hot summer. This fall, instead of starting classes, they'll be doing all they can to help their families prepare for another freezing winter without adequate shelter.
Syrians are standing up for peace, and the United States, along with Russia, is key to getting the peace process started – but two of the world's most powerful countries continue to delay and put politics before peace.
It's time – past time – for the United States to step up and push to bring all the parties together for a peace conference.
Tell Secretary of State Kerry: We need peace talks now. Set a time and date!
The UN estimates that there are more than 4 million Syrian children in need of humanitarian aid. They're children like 12-year-old Reema*, whose family was forced to flee from the conflict and is now living as refugees in Lebanon.
Reema wants to go home. She wants to be able to go to school. She shared this poem with us (translated from the original Arabic):
When I take my pencil and notebook what will I write about?
About my school or my house
I am deprived from living in my house and school
My school, when will I visit you again
To take my bag and run to you
Destruction has replaced you and taken the place of your ringing bells
and without the students
My house, my flowers, I miss you
My Syria, when will I return back to you?
I have dreams that I can't achieve and make come true
And all I want is living with you in freedom
Syria, my country, I love you.
Each day, more children like Reema are affected by the Syrian Civil War. It's time for the United States to put politics aside, to step up its leadership, and to make concrete plans for a peace conference.
Join us. Call on Secretary of State Kerry and tell him that the children of Syria need peace talks to begin, now. Urge him to set and time and date for a peace conference, as soon as possible.
Thank you for speaking up with us.
*Name changed for her protection.
To: John F. Kerry, Secretary of State
I write to you as a supporter of Oxfam America, and urge you to do all you can to end the violent conflict in Syria, starting with setting a time and a date for a peace conference.
The longer the United States and Russia delay peace talks, the more Syrians die. This conflict has already claimed more than 100,000 lives, displaced millions, threatens regional peace and security, and is taxing already overstretched resources, particularly in Lebanon and Jordan.
The people of Syria need a peace conference to happen as soon as possible. Please put politics aside and push for a time and date for peace talks, as soon as possible. This conference must have support from the United States, Russia, the United Nations, and others in the international community, as well as include a range of voices from the peaceful, ordinary citizens of Syria, both men and women.
Secretary Kerry, you have said before that there is no military solution to Syria. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to stop international arms transfers to the warring parties. Not only do these weapons transfers perpetuate the violence, but they make it even more difficult for organizations like Oxfam to reach the millions of people desperately in need of humanitarian aid.
It's time for the United States to demonstrate leadership in search of an end to the bloodshed in Syria. Please do everything you can to make a peace conference happen, as soon as possible, and stop the flow of weapons to the warring parties.