Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal - this decision should not be a "captains pick"

Sending Australian forces into Syria is illegal. This decision should not be a “captains pick”

Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Melbourne Australia--- Today MAPW called on the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, not to send the RAAF into Syria as Australia’s involvement in the region is in contravention of international law. MAPW believes that a considered debate should take place in our parliament before we engage in any conflict. Even the Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has stated that “Syria’s future is a complex question beyond what we are considering at the present time”.

MAPW President Dr Margaret Beavis said, “Going to war is a deadly business, and Australia should be debating this in our houses of parliament.   Australia urgently needs reform of the War Powers Act.  In both the US and the UK it is required that elected representatives debate and then vote before committing forces to war. The same should happen in Australia - This should not be a Captain’s pick”.

 “We need to carefully examine what constructive role Australia can take to actually help the Syrian people.” said Dr Beavis “The alliances in this war are very complex.  Australia’s bombing would inevitably cause deaths and injuries to civilians, and increase the number of people fleeing their homes, with many ultimately becoming refugees.  There is a big discrepancy between civilian deaths reported and what the coalition concedes.”

Cuts in foreign aid to the region belie stated concerns for humanitarian needs. Instead of joining the war currently tearing Syria apart, Australia could assist refugees, work towards a UN backed embargo to stop the flood of weapons into the region and support the first steps to negotiations. Currently the main winners in this conflict are the arms dealers, and those who further their political aims. The clear losers are the dead, the injured, the 7.6 million Syrians internally displaced and the 4 million so far who have fled their country.  

For Comment:   Dr Margaret Beavis         MAPW President             0401 99 56 99

                      Dr Sue Wareham            MAPW Vice President       0407 92 41 52