Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Syria

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Syria

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On 14 March, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake smiles as a boy embraces him, at a non-formal school in the Faida informal tented settlement for Syrian refugees, in the Bekaa Valley. A girl smiles while standing nearby. The school, which is run by the NGO Beyond Association with UNICEF support, provides basic education classes and child protection activities.

On 14 March 2014 in Lebanon, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake – together with Chief Executive of Save the Children UK Justin Forsyth, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, Mercy Corps Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy Andrea Koppel and World Vision International’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe Conny Lenneberg – made a joint visit to the Bekaa Valley. The five organizations are united in calling for an immediate end to the fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic, where the continuing humanitarian crisis has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee to nearby countries. Lebanon is currently hosting over 491,700 of those refugees. The conflict – which enters its fourth year on 15 March – has also displaced more than 6 million people, one third of them children, inside the Syrian Arab Republic.

© UNICEF/UN01444/Haidar – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake smiles as a boy embraces him, at a non-formal school in the Faida informal tented settlement for Syrian refugees

 

New York/ HONG KONG, 22 February 2016 – For Syria’s children, today’s agreement on the terms of a cessation of hostilities is welcome news after five years of brutal conflict.  UNICEF welcomes this diplomatic progress.  Now it must be matched by action.  Action to end the violence and destruction.  Action by all parties to the conflict to permit unlimited and unconditional access to reach all children and families with desperately needed humanitarian assistance, including food, water, vaccinations and medical supplies.  And action to permit children to return to school and a normal childhood.

If implemented, a cessation of hostilities represents an opportunity to begin the work of repairing a country that has suffered far too much for far too long – and to reach the children who are Syria’s future.