WASHINGTON - August 7 - In response to the escalating violence and continued deaths of civilians in the conflict between Hizbollah and Israel, Amnesty International is holding vigils across the United States and around the world today to stand in solidarity with the victims and survivors in Lebanon and Israel. The organization is calling for an immediate, full and effective ceasefire and demanding that all governments stop the supply of arms.
"The parties to this conflict continue to engage in indiscriminate attacks on civilians," said Larry Cox, AIUSA Executive Director. "Israel and Hizbollah must agree to stop the violence and killing of innocent civilians. Thousands of people are participating in small and large events, from Venezuela to Australia, from the United Kingdom to Korea, from Turkey to the United States and everywhere in between, calling for a ceasefire now."
There are more than 50 vigils being held in towns and cities around the United States including New York City, Cookeville, TN, Durango, CO, Peoria, IL, Pullman, AR, and Las Vegas (see NOTE below). In addition, the national vigil is in front of the U.S. State Department from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Washington, DC.
"Amnesty International members around the world are showing their solidarity with the victims and survivors and sending signed petitions to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to redouble U.S. efforts to broker an immediate, full and effective ceasefire," said Alexandra Arriaga, Amnesty International USA's Director of Government Relations.
There will be short statement read at every vigil in the United States and around the world which follows below:
"In past weeks we have seen the catastrophic events of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon unfold and magnify into a devastating series of violent atrocities and war crimes. We hear of the hundreds of lives lost, the homes destroyed, the many thousands made homeless, families torn apart and livelihoods crushed. This evening, Amnesty International members around the world, our supporters, our friends and our fellow partner organizations all stand together in solidarity with those who have suffered in this conflict. We mourn deeply for the victims and our hearts reach out to their families to wish them strength in this time of chaos. Our thoughts also stay closely with those surviving the conflict in the face of extreme danger, to whom we wish courage and immediate safety. We call on Israel and Hizbollah to respect the lives and the human rights of innocent people. And we implore other governments around the world to intervene to help the people of Israel and Lebanon - and to join our call for an end to this senseless violence. Today we stand together with a simple message: For all our sakes, ceasefire."
-- NOTE: For a list of all the vigils in the United States, please go to http://www.amnestyusa.org.