NGOs call for restraint in response to terrorist attacks

19 Sep 2001

Joint statement from NGOs

Summary

Leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are today urging the United States and its allies to show restraint in responding to the terrorist attacks in the United States.

In a joint statement, NGOs express how shocked and appalled they are by the attacks. But the NGOs believe that only measured thought and statesmanship can avoid the descent into a spiral of violence. We must now make sure that even more innocent lives are not lost, the charities say.

They urge the US and its allies to assess carefully the potential impact any proposed military action may have on the poor, the innocent and the voiceless. Action must be avoided that may create new emnities or destroy relationships between communities or nations.

The full joint statement reads:

'As a group of international development, human rights and refugee non-governmental organisations (NGOs), we are shocked and appalled by last weeks terrorist attacks in the United States. Our thoughts go out to the victims, their families and the different communities from across the United States and the world who will have to rebuild their lives from the rubble of such a tragedy.

While the USA and its friends across the world come to terms with the enormity of their loss, colossal efforts are now being directed to finding out who perpetrated the violence. Pressure is now building not merely for justice, but also for retaliation. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. But in seeking justice for this terrible crime, the world must respect the rights of all individuals.

In this situation, only measured thought and statesmanship can avoid the descent into a spiral of violence. The experience of NGOs working across the world shows that - as in the USA - it is often innocent people who are victims of violence. We urge the United States and its allies to assess carefully the potential impact any proposed military action may have on the poor, the innocent and the voiceless.

Secondly, in a world still struggling to understand last week's appalling events, it is dangerously easy to demonise particular groups and peoples. Already there have been threats and attacks against muslim communities and individuals, in this country and beyond. At this time, everyone with influence must do their utmost to combat extremism, to renounce inflammatory statements, protect the vulnerable, and avoid any action that would create new emnities or destroy relationships between communities or nations.

It is imperative that hatred does not become the order of the day; that fear does not become an excuse for the violation of rights, and that we all remember our common humanity. We must be compassionate in our support for the victims, determined in our search for justice, and vigilant about the rights of all people.

We urge everyone involved to show restraint in responding to an act of barbarism. In this respect any response must be conducted within the framework of international law. Thousands of innocent people have died in the United States. We must now make sure that even more innocent lives are not lost.'

Signatories and Contacts:

Christian Aid Jon Barton 020 7523 2416
ActionAid Alice Wynne Wilson 020 7561 7614
Amnesty International UK Susan Kobrin 020 7814 6238
CAFOD Fiona Fox 020 7326 5557
Catholic Institute of International Relations Fiona Sinclair 020 7288 8613
Oxfam Matt Grainger 01865 312243
Refugee Council Nasreen Memon 020 7820 3044
Saferworld Vanessa Haines 020 7881 9290
Save the Children UK Alero Harrisonhe 020 7716 2280
World Development Movement Dave Timms 07711 875345

ENDS

Further Information

Read the Refugee Council's news release on the Afghan refugee Crisis.

External sites
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