Aid agencies give UN Security Council a 'fail grade' on Syria

  • 21 humanitarian and human rights organizations say warring parties and powerful states have failed to implement UNSC resolutions leading to “worst year” of crisis for civilians in Syria.

The aid agencies today released a scathing critique of the UN Security Council powers detailing how they have failed to alleviate the suffering of civilians in Syria amid intensifying conflict four years after the start of the crisis.

Despite three Security Council resolutions adopted in 2014 that demanded action to secure protection and assistance for civilians, humanitarian access to large parts of Syria has diminished and more people are being killed, displaced and are in need of help than ever before, according to the report “Failing Syria”.

In the hard-hitting report agencies present a score card that compares the demands made in the Security Council resolutions last year, with the reality on the ground. The grim statistics reveal how the resolutions have been ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, members of the Security Council and other UN member states, leading to the worst year of the crisis for civilians:

  • People are not protected: 2014 has seen reports of 76,000 people killed in the conflict out of a total of at least 220,000 deaths over four years.
  • Aid access has not improved: 4.8 million people reside in areas defined by the UN as “hard to reach”, 2.3 million more than in 2013.
  • Humanitarian needs have increased: 5.6 million children are in need of aid, a 31 per cent increase since 2013. 
  • Humanitarian funding has decreased compared to needs: In 2013, 71% of the funds needed to support civilians inside Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries were provided. In 2014, this had declined to 57%.  

“The Security Council resolutions which last year promised protection and assistance for Syria’s civilians now ring hollow. Last year was the deadliest of the four long years of this conflict. As the destruction continues and more people are forced to flee their homes, the need for humanitarian assistance grows. Distressingly, humanitarian access has not improved to meet growing need and 4.8 million people are now living in hard to reach areas, without access to relief,” said Wynn Flaten, Director of World Vision’s Syria Response.

Fewer people were reached via inter-agency convoys from Damascus in 2014 compared to 2013 (1.1 million compared to 2.9 million), and less than half of the requests were accepted by the government of Syria. Some assistance has been entering across the borders from neighbouring countries, but out of Syria’s 34 border crossings, only five are currently open for humanitarian convoys, nine are restricted and the remainder are closed.

Flaten also commented on the plight of children caught up in the conflict, “almost 2 million children have now fled Syria. More than twice that number are still in Syria, many under direct threat of violence. Children have lost homes, friends, family members and witnessed or experienced violence. As they wait and hope for peace, many are missing out on an education. The international community should remember that once the Syrian crisis is over, these children will be the ones to re-build Syria.”

The humanitarian organizations are calling on UN member states, including the permanent members of the Security Council, to go beyond words and ensure the resolutions are fully implemented.

“Ultimately, the Syrian people need peace. While a political solution is sought, civilians must be protected and assured access to humanitarian assistance. The Security Council resolutions offer a framework to end this suffering, but without action by parties to the conflict and member states these resolutions remain little more than words on a page. Governments must use their influence to push for a genuine political solution and step up their financial aid to meet the growing humanitarian needs,” said Frances Charles, Advocacy Director World Vision’s Syria Response.

NOTE TO THE EDITORS:

The full report, photos and case studies for free use are available for download here: http://tinyurl.com/osmb8eb  

The signatories are also part of the Crisis Action campaign #WithSyria. A press release from the coalition and other material are available here: www.withsyria.com

If you would like interviews or more information, please contact:

World Vision, Advocacy and External Relations Director, Frances Charles
frances_charles@wviorg, +962778662325

Signatories to the report:
1.    Acted
2.    American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
3.    Alkarama Foundation
4.    ChildrenPlus
5.    Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
6.    Handicap International
7.    Hand in Hand For Syria
8.    Human Rights and Democracy Media Center (SHAMS) 
9.    International Rescue Committee
10.   Medecins Du Monde
11.   Norwegian Church Aid
12.   Norwegian Refugee Council
13.   NuDay Syria
14.   Oxfam
15.   PAX
16.   Save the Children
17.   Syrian American Medical Society
18.   Syria Relief Network
19.   Tulip for Syria Relief
20.   Une Ponte Per
21.   World Vision International