Listen: CKNW’s Shane Woodford and MSF’s Stephen Cornish talk about #NotATarget
Tired of having to watch its health facilities bombed or shelled and its staff killed or wounded in Syria and elsewhere Doctors without Borders is launching a social media campaign to say enough is enough.
Dubbing the initiative #NotATarget, Executive Director Stephen Cornish says the move is to highlight how UN members states are clearly violating the Geneva convention and humanitarian law.
“Not only are they not protecting them in many instances they are targeting them.”
He says on average, Doctors without Borders sponsored health facilities in Syria have been attacked once every week last year. And he says people need to pay attention to what is going on and pressure their governments to act.
“Families just trying to struggle and survive. In the worst of the conflicts the majority of the people are trying to just find food to put on the table. They are just trying to keep their families safe and try ot survive through the conflict. If we could see the individual families the individual children that are caught up in these atrocities I think Canadians would have the empathy and would then push government to act and take there responsibilities more forcefully.”
While the bombing campaign has generated the most attention outside of Syria, Cornish says it’s important to recognize the problem goes beyond attacks from the air.
“We have seen things even roll back further with middle aged seige tactics being deployed. In Syria there is about half-a-million people in towns that have been encircled and then had the electricity, the water, the food, and the medicine cut off. People are literally starving to death. In one of the supported facilities we take care of in Syria we had 33 patients die of starvation last month before aid was allowed to get through.”
He says civilians are increasing cut off from basic supplies like food, water, and medicine, and that 33 patients starved to death at a sponsored hospital in Syria last month alone.
Social media blizt
Now, the organization is launching a social media blitz in a bid to stop the bloodshed.
The group is asking people to help spread the #NotATarget hashtag, along with spreading the above images and videos hosted on its website.
It’s also asking people to take a photo of themselves holding up “not a target” signs to spread on social media to try and highlight the plight of civilians in the war zone.