x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Decisive action needed on Syria

A reader wonders who will take a meaningful step to stop the civil war.

A reader asks who will make a decisive move to end the tragedy of civil war in Syria. Narciso Contreras / AP
A reader asks who will make a decisive move to end the tragedy of civil war in Syria. Narciso Contreras / AP

Empowerment of women will help address rape crisis

As someone who abhors violence, especially rape, I have been following with deep concern the developments around the tragedy in India that has caused public outrage all over the world (India gang-rape victim dies in Singapore hospital, December 29).

Women across the globe are communicating with their sisters in India to express their support and solidarity for the rising number of rape victims in that country.

It is worth noting that the United States has the world's highest rate of reported rape cases, while India is the country where the incidence of this vile crime is rising fastest. According to the United Nations, rape of women is also the most underreported crime.

In the US, several significant movements are emerging, including the V-Day group, which is campaigning to mobilise one billion people to demand an end to this violence.

According to the non-profit V-Day corporation, there are 7 billion people on the planet, half of whom are women, and one-third of those women have been raped or beaten at some time in their lives.

The leaders of this initiative have reached out to their Indian counterparts to join with men and women in 167 countries to stop violence against women and girls

Rape is not unique to any country or region.

There are already several social initiatives to deal with this crime in the UAE and other countries in this region.

It is vital that women in leadership positions take a strong stance on this issue, and work with governments. Legal systems have to be reviewed to encourage rape victims to come forward so prosecutions can occur.

Baquer Namazi, Dubai

Tobacco warnings are a healthy sign

Ban on tobacco without warnings (December 27) is good news for the health of the community.

However, I believe the initiative doesn't go far enough. The "graphic" images on cigarette packaging in the UAE are nowhere near as confronting as those used on tobacco packaging in some other countries.

People really must be shocked into giving up this habit, because it's bad for them and it's a burden on the nation's health system.

In the end, we all end up paying - in terms of higher insurance premiums or fewer benefits - when a smoker refuses to quit.

I believe the UAE should follow the example of Australia, where cigarette companies are no longer able to use trademarked logos, special typography, colours or other distinctive features to market their deadly product.

Significant price rises should also be considered, and I urge the UAE authorities to enforce bans on smoking in public places, especially where children are present.

Passive smoking is a bigger risk than many people imagine, and smoking in the presence of children is inexcusable.

Mary Morris, Dubai

Graphic warnings will never encourage smokers to quit smoking.

It may discourage younger people from taking up the habit but I do not think so.

H Mihranian, Hungary

Decisive action needed on Syria

Syria: no plan, no timetable, no peace (December 28) reflects a very sad state of affairs.

The Syrian civil war is continuing despite global concern and an appeal from the UN Security Council.

Opposition parties and the Syrian people clearly want to be rid of Bashar Al Assad, yet the situation is still dragging on.

The question is: who will make the difficult but essential move that will lead to a new transitional government?

K Ragavan, India

A case of coffee, coffee everywhere

I am writing in reference to So much more than the daily grind (December 26), about UAE residents demanding better coffee.

The last time I checked, there was a Starbucks on almost every street corner. Now there's even one at Al Jahili park in Al Ain.

J Dela Cruz, Dubai

Small shops play a very large role

Regarding End nears for old-style groceries (December 27), corner shops within walking distance are an element of liveable neighbourhoods that should be encouraged.

Without them, people have to drive a few kilometres to supermarkets to get one or two items, creating unnecessary carbon emissions.

These small shops not only lend character to a neighbourhood, but they enable valuable human contact among shopkeepers and their customers.

Certainly, some of these corner shops need cleaning.

However, if we want to encourage sustainable neighbourhoods, then they should not all be closed down.

J Lee, Abu Dhabi