Today we're handing in 50,000 Love Syria signatures
Luke Gibson Tax and Inequality Policy Adviser
9th Oct 2013
On 9 October, a 50,000-strong petition will be handed in to the UK government -- with signatures from festival goers from across the country asking for more aid to Syria, and for government to push for a peaceful outcome to the conflict. Here, Oxfam's Luke Gibson explains what's happening, and reflects a summer of campaigning.
What a festival season it's been. I really can't believe it's over. All in all, the Oxfam festival campaigns team was at 18 festivals this year, with 170 volunteers, and nearly 50,000 people signing up to our 'Love Syria' petition for more aid and for a peaceful outcome to the conflict.
Today, a group of Oxfam staff and volunteers will take those 50,000 signatures to the Foreign Office for a meeting with Minister of State Hugh Robertson. We'll be there to take your voices to the heart of government. We'll be letting him know that the UK public haven't forgotten the 6.9 million people in need inside Syria and the two million people that have been forced to leave their homes and live as refuges in neighbouring countries.
Since the campaign launched in June, we've had incredible support - through rain and through sunshine - from across the UK.
But for me the stand-out moment was at Glastonbury, when a Syrian woman who had escaped the conflict to the UK saw our marquee and headed over. She told us how hard it was for her family still in Syria and how they were struggling to get by, and was so grateful to us for raising awareness and pushing for a peaceful solution. She burst into tears as she told us that the Syrian people thought that the world had forgotten them, and took photos of our banners and campaigners in action to send to her family so that they knew. They hadn't been forgotten.
The UK government has committed to give an £500 million in aid to the Syrian people. This is fantastic news, and will make a huge difference to people's lives. After the hand in today, Oxfam will continue to push for a date for the Geneva 2 Peace Conference. We'll be stressing the need for talks that are inclusive, have participation from all sides of the conflict, which include neighbouring states, and include independent non military voices from across Syrian society such as refugees and women's groups.
We couldn't have achieved what we did without our fantastic team of dedicated festival campaign volunteers, or without the support of the festival shop and stewarding teams. Thanks to everyone that helped to make this happen!