Tuesday, as Idlib was being bombed, the world gathered in Brussels to discuss Syria, bystanders to six years of civilian deaths and the dismantling of a country – a cruel reminder that the Syrian population continues to bear the brunt of this war. As leaders met, CARE’s Syrian partners denounced the multiple losses they have witnessed among colleagues, friends, their own families.
These same partners asked the EU to stand with the Syrian people and defend the protection of civilians. CARE with its partners is calling on all governments to go beyond the words of sympathy and to act concretely. Yesterday, the EU’s adoption of a new Syria strategy calling for accountability of conflict parties was a step in this direction.
On Wednesday, governments will discuss the reconstruction and future of Syria. We remind leaders that any chance of sustainable peace will depend on the guarantee of human rights today, including the participation of Syrian civil society. Leaders must support this future with no ulterior motive: it should not be a distraction or a pretext to accepting things as they are, and doing nothing, or as a tool to stop the migration flow to Europe. It would be immoral and against international law to force the return of refugees to a country that is still not safe.
Likewise, future plans and political agendas should not divert attention from the current humanitarian catastrophe in Syria nor from the fact that humanitarian agencies continue to lack access to hard to reach and besieged areas. A few months ago, the UN recognized that the humanitarian needs in Syria had grown too large to comprehensively address: 13.5 million people are in need of assistance. Last year, during the London Conference, many states financially contributed to the humanitarian response. Still, we must continue to improve the efficiency and flexibility of funds and maintain this financial mobilization, especially in light of potential American budget cuts.
As bombs continue to fall, we must be resolute in seeking a political solution. But until that is secured, funding must be made available to ensure the protection of Syrians, wherever they are.
A CARE delegation and some of our Syrian partners are currently in Brussels and available for interviews. To arrange an interview with a CARE spokesperson, contact:
Advocacy and Government Relations Advisor | CARE Canada
email@example.com | 613.286.0821