Peace offensive is needed to end conflict in Syria, says World Vision

AMMAN, Jordan (August 28, 2013) — As the threat of military intervention looms, aid agency World Vision says all actors need to push forward with a peace offensive for children.

“For more than two years, we’ve been saying that this conflict needs to stop. Thousands of children have died. Countless more have been injured, displaced and robbed of their innocence. Those involved with this conflict, both directly and indirectly, have an agreed-to responsibility to prioritize diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful solutions,” says Conny Lenneberg, head of World Vision’s work in the region. 

“The international community has failed the children of Syria. As the atrocities continue, we need leaders at the G20 and beyond to show they are prepared to push for peaceful and humanitarian responses, as a matter of urgency. World leaders need to come together to negotiate an immediate cease-fire. 

“This conflict has shown humanity at its worst. Its escalation continues to unleash gross human rights abuses and contravene international conventions. The worst thing for children right now is more fighting. When will the world say “enough”? 

The well-being of children and other innocent civilians has not been prioritized by international actors, says Lenneberg. As World Vision knows firsthand, children are disproportionately affected by conflict and future generations are forced to live with the life-long consequences and effects of these horrendous crimes. Children have watched siblings and friends being killed in the street. Their play is now tainted with themes of guns, war and death. 

“Are we truly giving up on all of the humanitarian instruments we've worked toward for the last 60 years? The United Nations should be used to resolve threats to international peace and security. They express the law-based, consensus view aimed towards peace.

“It is clear that all humanitarian and diplomatic efforts have not yet been exhausted.” says Lenneberg. “We urgently need an increased level of focus on this crisis, but it needs to be on peaceful, diplomatic and humanitarian solutions. 

“The bottom line is too many children are being killed, maimed, exploited and displaced. Their most basic rights have been stripped from them. We cannot bring back the 7,000 children whose lives have been lost to this conflict. As our teams on the ground work to try to protect child survivors from further suffering, we challenge world leaders to urgently come together and agree that one child lost to this conflict is too many. We have a responsibility to show a new generation that we can break historical trends, and fight conflict with peace.”