Letters: Britain should back French call to reinforce safe havens

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The Independent Online
From Mr Eldred Tabachnik, QC, and others

Sir: Once again in Bosnia we see innocent communities being destroyed and atrocities committed. We are appalled at the recent developments in the region and we urge the British Government and the international community to take urgent and immediate action to protect the people of Bosnia.

If we learn anything from history, it is that strenuous efforts must be made to ensure that people in the safe havens (and elsewhere) are indeed kept safe. Where safe havens have already fallen, the provisions of the Geneva Convention must be applied to ensure humane treatment for their inhabitants.

We urge that everything possible must be done to safeguard the humanitarian efforts of the relief agencies. We appeal to the British Government, in conjunction with the international community, to take every possible action to save lives and avert further tragedy in Bosnia.

As Jews living in Britain today, we are especially sensitive to the evils caused by rampant nationalism and ethnic aggression that bring back so many memories of the Thirties. If there is one message to emerge from the commemoration of VE Day earlier this year, it is that the world has a moral responsibility to ensure that "never again" means never again.

Yours faithfully,

Eldred Tabachnik (President, Board of Deputies of British Jews); Fred Tuckman (President, Anglo-Jewish Association); Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs (Assembly of Masorti Synagogues); Joy Conway (Chairman, Association of Jewish Women's Organisations); Alan Cohen (National President, B'Nai Brith); Ruth Sotnick (Chairman, British WIZO); David Lewis (President, European Council of Jewish Communities); Antony Lerman (Executive Director, Institute of Jewish Affairs); June Jacobs (European Chairperson, International Council of Jewish Women); Edie Friedman (Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality); Sandra Harris (President, League of Jewish Women) Rabbi Herschel Gluck (Director, Ohr Avrohom); Rabbi Dr Hugo Gryn (President, Reform Synagogues of Great Britain); Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy (Communal Rabbi, Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation); Nick Cosgrove (Chairperson, Union of Jewish Students); Rabbi Dr John Rayner (Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues); Seymour G. Saideman (President, United Synagogue); Rosalind Preston (Chairperson, Women in the Community)

The Board of Deputies

of British Jews

London, WC1

20 July