ALERT – Syria Donor Conference : States must not miss this crucial opportunity! | February 2, 2016
On 3 and 4 February 2016, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Kuwait will host a high-level conference, “Supporting Syria and the region “, in London. The protection of civilians, education and food aid will be the focus of discussions. Representatives from more than 80 States will meet to embrace a plan to support Syria […]
On 3 and 4 February 2016, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Kuwait will host a high-level conference, “Supporting Syria and the region “, in London. The protection of civilians, education and food aid will be the focus of discussions.
Representatives from more than 80 States will meet to embrace a plan to support Syria and countries hosting Syrian refugees. A crucial issue, since millions of Syrians are currently being forced to flee their homes due to the conflict: the number of internally displaced Syrians now stands at 6.6 million, and the number of people sheltering in neighbouring countries at 4.6 million. The international community has failed so far to deal with the situation; the Syria Donor Conference in London is a clear opportunity to raise significant funding to meet immediate and longer-term needs of all those affected by the crisis.
“After five years of conflict, the goals set by the London conference must be commensurate with the terrible scale of the humanitarian tragedy in Syria and the surrounding region, says Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations at Handicap International. The inclusion of vulnerable people, such as older people, pregnant women and people with disabilities, in the humanitarian aid effort must feature among the commitments made by States.”
Urgent and immediate action is needed to improve protection, educational and economic opportunities for Syrians. Handicap International, along with other CSOs, is therefore issuing a call upon the Syria Donor Conference participants and the wider international community. Handicap International specifically calls States to collectively adopt the following recommendations :
Civilians must not be targeted and must be protected from the effects of the war in Syria.
- We call for an end to all attacks on civilians and violations of international humanitarian law inside Syria,
- We call on all parties to the conflict to immediately halt all attacks on homes, schools and medical facilities,
- We call for an immediate end to siege tactics and the obstruction of humanitarian assistance.
- We call on the UN Security Council to establish a mechanism to monitor and publically expose attacks by any and all means against civilians inside Syria, as well as the use of besiegement, and lay down clear consequences for the perpetrators of such tactics.
- The international community should continue to urge all parties to the conflict to greater respect of international humanitarian law, to condemn the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Syria acknowledging that civilians, and in particular children, must be protected, and to push for a negotiated solution to the conflict to ensure all children inside Syria are protected and their right to education fulfilled.
The risks posed by mines and explosive remnants of war in Syria must be addressed
- We ask that humanitarian mine action start as soon as possible. All governments and stakeholders should acknowledge that humanitarian mine action is essential,
- Significant risks that unexploded ordnance and landmines – improvised or manufactured – pose to Syrian communities and humanitarian actors must be averted, and further acknowledge that such action is critical to longer-term stabilisation and recovery efforts inside Syria and across the region.
- Donors should commit to funding risk education, survey and clearance of mines and explosive remnants of war, and support to Syrian response capacity to effectively respond to these threats.
- Donors must also support victim assistance programmes, including rehabilitation services and access to them.
Vulnerable people must be better included in the emergency response in Syria
- We ask that all donor participants recognize the increased challenges faced by older people, those living with a disability or who are injured in accessing basic services and meeting basic and specific needs,
- Donors must provide medium- and long-term funding to support key areas of national-level response, in particular weaknesses in health system management of chronic diseases, mental healthcare and post-operative, rehabilitation and care services.
To read the full High Level CSO briefing statement
To read the full Joint NGO position paper