Our foreign policy needs to change
Last Friday marked World Humanitarian Day – an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate suffering.
Last week, people across the world were shocked at a single photograph of a five-year-old boy sitting dazed in the back of an ambulance, following an airstrike in Aleppo.
Omran Daqneesh quickly became a symbol of the suffering that many thousands of children are enduring in war-torn Syria.
Estimates from the Syrian Centre for Policy Research put the total death toll from five years of war in the country at around half a million, with the United Nations estimating that tens of thousands of children are among the war dead.
Sadly, we learned just days ago that Omran’s 10-year-old brother Ali passed away due to his injuries from the bombing of his house, and became yet another child brutally slaughtered in the ongoing conflict.
The survivors in Syria are not getting the aid that they need. The UN was only able to meet 40 percent of its aid delivery targets for June and July.
We see similar issues with aid delivery in Yemen. There, the airstrikes that have targeted docks and main infrastructure have led to 80 per cent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.
The UK professes to wield great influence in the world. It is time to prove it.
I will never forget the sound of Labour and Tory MPs cheering at the prospect of air strikes in Syria during the crucial Commons debate late last year.
When I held a debate in Westminster Hall a few months ago and called for humanitarian aid in Yemen, those cheering voices were notably absent.
The UK is investing billions in international aid, but the biggest problem is reaching the people who are most in need.
It is time to use our influence to broker humanitarian pauses in these conflicts – and to ensure they are adhered to.
In the case of Yemen, we must immediately stop arming Saudi Arabia, and back a proper independent international investigation into breaches of humanitarian law by all parties involved in the conflict.
Our foreign policy needs to change if we truly wish to make a humanitarian difference.
Closer to home, I am incredibly disappointed that the UK Government has signalled its intent to proceed with plans to scrap the Human Rights Act.
This vital piece of legislation needs to be upheld.
These are our fundamental rights and it is unbelievable that after many months of mixedmessages, the UK government still cannot tell us what its plans are or whether it intends to force Scotland out of the European Convention on Human Rights against our will.
Human rights are a devolved matter in Scotland. The Scottish Government and Parliament must be consulted on any proposals to scrap the Human Rights Act or to take Scotland out of the European Convention.
The survivors in Syria are not getting the aid they need
Margaret Ferrier MPMPFORFORRUTHERGLENRUTHERGLENANDANDHAMILTONHAMILTONWEST WEST
War A Syrian boy who has been wounded after shelling in the country