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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Towards a World in Which All Children Can Play

By Dr. May-May Meijer.

H.E. Mr. Alexander Shulgin, the ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Hague and envoy to the OPCW was interviewed in Diplomat Magazine on November 15th about the chemical attack that took place in the Syrian city of Douma on April 7th, 2018. As a result of the chemical attack the United States, France, and the United Kingdom carried out a series of military strikes against multiple government sites in Syria. H.E. Mr. Shulgin stated in the article that, because of those attacks, the world was on the brink of a major confrontation between two nuclear powers. 

Just after the chemical attack in Douma, Peace SOS received a press release titled “Massive Chemical Weapon Attack Leaves 25+ Dead , 500+ Injured in Ghouta”. The press release, which also contained photos of victims, was sent by the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organization (UOSSM), a coalition of humanitarian, non-governmental, and medical organizations.  

We were very shocked by the images of dead bodies we saw. Even children – many victims were children – died in the chemical attack. 

We – as adults – are responsible for all the children in the world. Together we must build a more peaceful world. A World in Which All Children Can Play. That is what I hope to bring to the attention of all diplomats.” –the words of May-May Meijer, chair of Peace SOS 

The siege and chemical attack in Ghouta 

At the time of the chemical attack, East Ghouta was besieged by the government of President Assad in Syria. 400,000 people in East Ghouta were affected by shortages of food, fuel, medicines and drinking water. Citizens from Douma, which is home to 27,500 people, reached out to Peace SOS due to the scarcity of food. 

At Peace SOS we had internal discussions whether to send money or not, because we couldnt control that the money we would provide would be used for food indeed. Therefore we decided not to give money.

On Sunday, April 8th 2018 Peace SOS received a press release by UOSSM stating: 

“Early reports indicate 25 people have been killed, and over 500 civilians have been injured, with the numbers set to rise. Many of the victims were children. The attack coincides with numerous attacks on medical facilities in Douma today, rendering the largest hospital out of service and a Red Crescent medical facility heavily damaged.”

The UOSSM coalition likewise stated that it “calls for an immediate ceasefire in Douma, for medical aid to be allowed to reach the victims of this attack, and for an immediate investigation into the use of chemical weapons as a war crime.”

Peace SOS was very shocked by this press release, whereby the NGO forwarded it to the Permanent Mission of the Dutch Kingdom to the United Nations in New York. 

It is so tragic that many children died in the chemical attack in Douma and that here are still many children dying in wars. I would like to visualize another perspective. I hope that we all will build towards: A World In Which All Children Can Play. This entails that we value all life and speak from our hearts. Invest in dialogue, peace via peaceful means, and combat poverty. Lets be kind and open to one another. These words are the message that May-May Meijer, the Chair of Peace SOS, would like to convey to the world.

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