World Cup Without War

Syrian civil society organisations are calling for ceasefire: “For Russia, the World Cup is a dream tournament, but in Syria, there is no reason to dream.”

We Exist!, an alliance of Syrian society organisations, launched the World Cup of Peace campaign one month before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is a plea to the world leaders to ensure ceasefire in Syria before the competition begins.

“For Syrians, the ultimate goal is freedom, justice, peace!” state the activists.

The campaign is supported by Civic Assistance Committee as well as by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Die Johanniter and CIVICUS, a global alliance of civic society organisations with headquarters in South Africa.

“While the attention of the whole world switches to football in Russia, the war in Syria continues to destroy lives and inflict immense suffering on men, women and children,” emphasizes Bassam Al Ahmad, a member of the We Exist! Alliance. “The World Cup should be harnessed as a force for good by ensuring a ceasefire takes effect before the opening ceremony on June 14th.”

We Exist! is a Syrian initiative supporting civic society campaigns for human rights protection. “For Russia, the World Cup is the dream tournament, but in Syria, there is no reason to dream,” reminds Maria Al Abdeh, the executive director of Women now for development.

Within the framework of another related initiative, a petition to international leaders was launched by a football team of Syrian refugees calling itself SAWA Diaspora football team, calling on them to urge President Vladimir Putin to declare ceasefire in Syria ahead of the beginning of the World Cup.

You may find the text of the petition here.

Translated by Daria Gorbacheva