An Open Letter to Michelle Bachelet: For Syria, We Must Act Now

Dear Under-Secretary-General Bachelet,

The Houla massacre leaves us no other choice than to act more robustly in Syria.

We must end the spiral of violence that this country has suffered for over a year. Whatever the form of action taken, the protection of the Syrian people must be our only goal, and must be greater than our hesitations.

The peace plan drawn up by Kofi Annan has -- by his own admission -- shown its limits. We must now find an alternative solution, so that the tragic toll of over 14,000 deaths in 15 months does not increase any further.

We must take concrete measures beyond sanctions and symbolic gestures. The time for simple statements and messages of deterrence is over. Syria has now slipped into civil war.

Expelling Syrian ambassadors from European embassies is not a sufficient response to the horrors that are unfolding just a few miles from Europe's borders.

We are both women involved in politics. Over and above our respective roles, this commitment and our visibility give us a greater responsibility towards all people suffering around the world.

It is of no avail to call for more women in politics if we do not make use of our courage and our sensitivity, which sometimes lack amongst our male peers.

I ask you, Under-Secretary-General Bachelet, to show this courage by leading a more robust position in order to end the massacres in Syria.

You have an opportunity to honor the office that was entrusted to you. Universal values are being violated every day in Syria, and we have a duty to protect them, collectively.

I ask you to add your voice to mine in calling on Asma Al-Assad to stop denying the reality and the responsibility from which she has hidden for the past several months.

Above and beyond politics, it is a duty which stems from our common humanity that should bring us together.

I cannot believe that Mrs. Al-Assad can remain indifferent to the unspeakable atrocities being committed. She could still play a role in ending them. We have a duty to remind her.

For all those children and many more, for all those women and men, we must ask Mrs. Al-Assad to open her eyes and act.

Let us go together to talk to her, and to tell her that beyond political considerations, we are there first and foremost to protect those children, women, and men.

We must not be guilty of not having done enough. Let us not limit ourselves to what, institutionally, we can or cannot do. We must act. Let us not rest until our message is heard and accepted. Let us not rest as long as innocent victims continue to be massacred every day on Europe's doorstep.