More than 100 humanitarian agencies call for immediate and sustained access in Syria

More than 100 humanitarian agencies call for immediate and sustained access in Syria

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On 4 November 2015 in Iraq, Ahmad, 14, lives in the in the Kawergosk camp for Syrian refugees, just west of Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region.

14 March 2016 - An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes 306,000 children born as refugees since 2011. In total, UNICEF estimates that some 8.4 million children - more than 80 per cent of Syria’s child population - are now affected by the conflict, either inside the country or as refugees in neighbouring countries. “In Syria, violence has become commonplace, reaching homes, schools, hospitals, clinics, parks, playgrounds and places of worship,” said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Nearly 7 million children live in poverty, making their childhood one of loss and deprivation.”
 
According to “No Place for Children”, UNICEF verified nearly 1,500 grave violations against children in 2015. More than 60 per cent of these violations were instances of killing and maiming as a result of explosive weapons used in populated areas. More than one-third of these children were killed while in school or on their way to or from school. In Syria’s neighbouring countries, the number of refugees is nearly 10 times higher today than in 2012. Half of all refugees are children. More than 15,000 unaccompanied and separated children have crossed Syria’s borders. “Five years into the war, millions of children have grown up too fast and way ahead of their time,” Salama said. “As the war continues, children are fighting an adult war, they are continuing to drop out of school, and many are forced into labour, while girls are marrying early.”
 
In the earlier years of the conflict, most of the children recruited by armed forces and groups were boys between 15 and 17 years ol

© UNICEF/UN013169/Alaoui

GENEVA/ HONG KONG, 16 March 2016 – One hundred and two humanitarian agencies today urged sustained and unconditional humanitarian access to all Syrians.

As the parties to the conflict in Syria resume talks to end a war that now enters its sixth horrific year, there is renewed hope for peace. For an end to the suffering of millions of the innocent.

Two months ago our organizations appealed for urgent access to all those in desperate need inside Syria: for the lifting of sieges; for the full protection of civilians. Today, there are some encouraging signs of progress. The cessation of hostilities has allowed humanitarian organizations to rush more food and other relief to communities desperate for help.

But access has to go beyond a temporary lifting of seiges and checkpoints and allowing more aid convoys to move.

Humanitarian access and freedom of movement of civilians in Syria has to be sustained. It has to be unconditional. And it should include access to all people in need by whatever routes necessary.

The parties to this conflict and their international sponsors must from now on guarantee:

  • Full access for humanitarian and medical workers to assess the wellbeing of civilians in all communities and treat those who are sick and injured without obstacle or restriction.
  • Allowing all humanitarian aid, as required by international humanitarian law, to reach, unimpeded, those who urgently need it – including medical supplies, surgical equipment, and nutritional necessities.
  • Support for an urgently needed nationwide immunization campaign for children.

These are practical actions that would mean the difference between life and death.  All parties to the conflict can agree on them, now.

And in doing so, they can take another step to peace. Peace for Syria. The peace that Syrians so desperately deserve.

Click here to see more than 100 agencies urging sustained and unconditional humanitarian access to all Syrians