On July 11, the world commemorated the Srebrenica massacre and the failure of the international community to protect civilians in the Bosnia war. The massacre was commemorated by world leaders as a dreadful stain on our collective conscience.
Also on July 11, the UN Security Council (UNSC) voted to reduce humanitarian access to one single route into Syria.
Since 2011, an estimated half a million lives have been lost and more than 16 million people have been displaced by war in Syria.
Rather than increasing what little access remains, a veto by Russia and China resulted in new restrictions. This decision comes as the first Covid-19 case is confirmed in Idlib, a Syrian area close to the Turkish border.
The plight of the Syrian population remains urgent and ever more critical as millions still depend on humanitarian assistance for the most basic services such as food, shelter, water and medical care.
There is perhaps no more challenging active conflict than the Syrian war and there are no easy solutions.
The work of the non-permanent members of the UNSC has been essential in ensuring the needs of the civilian population were not forgotten in this deeply politicised conflict.
The Syrian people deserve real leadership in the search for conflict resolution. We know Ireland has been actively championing increased humanitarian access and will need to play an even more important role on the council in 2021.
CEO, Concern Worldwide, Dublin 2
Mandatory masks in shops protect staff and customers
John Williams (‘Shop heroes are doing their best under trying conditions’, Letters, July 16) entirely misses my point. More countries now have mandated mask-wearing in their supermarkets and shops.
I fully agree with him that the staff of supermarkets and shops are indeed heroes, especially given the fact they are not adequately protected from contracting Covid-19 at work by, as I have argued, being mandated to wear face masks.
My objection is obviously not in any way directed at the staff’s heroic efforts in carrying out their jobs, but to the very fact that they are being allowed to carry on doing so without being mandated to wear face masks, thus posing a possible serious safety risk to other staff as well as to customers who are not wearing masks. Indeed it is very surprising the employers have not seen fit to protect employees and customers from any possible asymptomatic staff by ensuring they wear face masks.
Moreover, regarding Mr Williams’s sweeping claim that the staff “keep customers in line, and observing social distancing”, I saw no evidence whatsoever of that on my supermarket outing. On the contrary, it was the staff themselves who needed to observe social distancing, especially since it was they who were not even wearing masks.
The only way to ensure better safety for staff and customers in such enclosed shops is to have mandatory face-mask wearing for both, with stiff penalties for failures to comply.
Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
Summer months of July and August part of an evil legacy
About 2,000 years ago in ancient Roman times, both Julius Caesar and his nephew Emperor Augustus were slave owners who had the months of July and August named in honour of them.
So isn’t it about time, with the present improved moral understanding of history gaining ground, that those two months of summer should have their names changed?
Perhaps they should be named after leaders closer to our own modern age who would have better moral and humane reputations than any ancient Roman emperors ever had?
Kilrush, Co Clare
Daily ‘Sinn Féin rant’ has become monotonous
Has the penny finally dropped with the media – and even Sinn Féin itself – that most of us are tired of its monotonous response to every minor crisis?
Time to drop the “Sinn Féin rant” from the daily evening news.
Dr Michael Foley
Rathmines, Dublin 6
Choosing not to comply with guidelines is my business
I don't “fail to understand” anything regarding the Covid-19 guidelines (‘We must inform ourselves on the implications of Covid-19’, Declan Foley, Letters, July 9).
That I choose not to comply with certain intrusive nonsense aspects pertaining to how I conduct my life is my own business.
Being lectured to from far away Australia, of all places, is simply hilarious. G’day mate.
Bantry, Co Cork