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Friday 17 June 2016

Jo Cox, humanitarian.

Humanity lost a champion when Jo Cox was stolen from us. We are deeply saddened by the loss. We extend our most sincere condolences to Jo’s family and friends, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Syrian groups in Britain learned of her last year as a new MP prepared to speak up on Syria after two years of near-silence in the UK Parliament. Her view of the crisis was both moral and realistic, rigorous in seeking to understand what was happening, and clear in seeing what could and should be done.

The Syrian war is not just a humanitarian crisis; it is a crime against humanity. Jo Cox was not content to settle for helping the victims, she demanded action to end the crime.

Her focus was civilian protection: achieve that, and the rest follows; fail on that and no lasting good can come of our actions. She advocated action by the UK and allies to stop Assad’s deliberate bombing of civilian areas as the single greatest threat to civilians. She advocated humanitarian airdrops by the UK to besieged civilians to force an end to Assad’s deliberate use of starvation as a weapon.

Jo Cox abstained on the December 2015 vote on extending anti-ISIS airstrikes into Syria. She was deeply unhappy that the proposed intervention offered no relief to civilians. She refused to cast her vote either for isolationism or for a narrow counterterrorist policy that failed to deal with the ultimate cause of Syria’s horror, the Assad regime’s campaign of mass murder.

Britain’s failure to act in 2013 came in part because politicians allowed the massacres in Syria to become the subject of UK party politics. In all of her work on Syria, Labour MP Jo Cox reached out across party lines, working with Conservatives on the need to stop the bombing, and with Liberal Democrats on the need for action to break the sieges. In the last fortnight of her life she had the satisfaction of seeing MPs from across the House of Commons stand to speak in favour of humanitarian air drops.

Failure to act to protect civilians inside Syria has now become failure to protect civilians fleeing Syria. Victims of the murderous dictatorship are now used as a propaganda tool by the UK’s own inhumane far right. We have tolerated organised thuggery in Syria; now the thuggishness has entered our own politics.

Humanitarianism is caring for others, and through that we nurture our own humanity. British politics sacrificed its own humanity in its response to the Syria crisis. Jo Cox did her best to redeem it.

We will miss her deeply.

Batool Abdulkareem, Heba Ajami, Mark Boothroyd, Clara Connolly, Amr Salahi, Kellie Strom, Syria Solidarity UK

Yasmine Nahlawi, Rethink Rebuild Society

Dr Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal, Syrian Association of Yorkshire

Dr Mohammad Tammo, Kurds House

Reem Assil, Syrian Platform for Peace

Rouba Mhaissen, SAWA for development and aid

Mazen Ejbaei, Help 4 Syria UK

Dr Amer Masri, Scotland4Syria

Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali, Syrian Welsh Society

Dr Abdullah Hanoun, Syrian Community of the South West

Dr Fadel Moghrabi, Peace and Justice for Syria

Talal Al-Mayhani, Centre for Thought and Public Affairs

Amjad Selo, Syrian Society in Nottinghamshire

Jonathan Brown, Saleyha Ahsan, Ben Midgley, Liberal Democrats for Syrian Freedom, Peace & Reconstruction

Yara Bader, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression

Mazen Darwish, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression

Yara Tlass, Watanili

Rafif Jouejati, FREE-Syria

Moataz Aljbawi, Union of Syria Civil Society Organizations

Bassam al-Kuwlati, RMTeam

Violations Documentation Centre

Assaad al Achi, Baytna

Aref Alkrez

Alaa Basatneh

Majd Chourbaji, Basamat for Development

Salim Salamah, Palestinian League for Human Rights

Syria Civil Defence, ‘The White Helmets’

Emissa for Development

Majd Chourbaji, Basamat for development

Fadel Abdul Ghany, Syrian Network for Human Rights

Hozan Ibrahim, Citizens for Syria