BRICS asked to show solidarity with Syrian people
"As they meet in Durban, the BRICS countries should demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Syria and take meaningful steps to address their plight," more than two dozen individuals, primarily from these four countries, said in a joint letter to BRICS leaders.
"We urge to them to make a public appeal to President Assad to grant the UN unimpeded humanitarian access so that it can reach civilians from across all Syria's borders; anytime and anywhere.
"The appeal to the Syrian government could be joined by a call on armed opposition groups to grant safe passage to relief convoys and personnel into the territories within their control," the letter said.
Prominent among the signatories from India include author and journalist Pritish Nandy, the former foreign Secretary K C Singh, Anuradha M Chenoy and Kamal Mitra Chenoy from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Maja Daruwala.
"Achieving a lasting peace will be complicated – delivering humanitarian aid shouldn't be," K C Singh said in the letter.
South African human rights activist Zackie Achmat said the people of Syria are living a nightmare of death, injury, illegal detention, rape, torture and displacement.
"The conflict has already spilled over into neighbouring states, and poses a substantial threat to regional stability," he said.
Camila Asano, from Conectas in Brazil, said this year's Summit is more of a responsibility than an opportunity for the BRICS to pave the way for full humanitarian access to all parts of the Syrian territory.
"It is of great concern that BRICS' Summit Declaration of 2012 did not make reference to the urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, emerging countries, especially the BRICS, have taken on a primary role in the international debate over it," Asano said.