UN Secretary-General appeals for more support for victims of conflict in Syria

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UNSG Antonio Guterres HRVP Federica Mogherini SyriaConf2017 | © Photo: Sabrina Bellosi, EEAS

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to take decisive steps to increase support for the victims of the conflict in Syria and for neighbouring countries that are sheltering millions of refugees.

Needs far outweigh resources. Less than 10% of the estimated $4.63 billion needed, this year alone, to provide protection and assistance has been received.

Speaking on April 5th at the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, Mr. Guterres urged the parties to the conflict to understand the immense tragedy of the war for the people of Syria.

Hosted by the European Union, the two-day conference in Brussels is co-chaired with the United Nations and the Governments of Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

The participants are seeking to find further support for Syrians inside Syria and in neighbouring countries as well as build greater support for a lasting political resolution to the conflict, including intra-Syrian talks under the auspices of the United Nations.

``This Conference must represent a moment of truth, when the international community takes decisive steps to increase its support for the victims of the Syria conflict, and for the neighbouring countries that are providing a safe haven for millions of refugees,’’ the Secretary-General told the Conference.

Opening statements UNSG Antonio Guterres and HRVP Federica Mogherini, #SyriaConf2017 | ©Photo: C. Verhellen, UN.

Inside Syria itself, 13.5 million people urgently require aid – and needs are far from being met. Four out of every five people are in poverty, half of them in extreme poverty, with one in three schools  unused, and where 1.75 million children are prevented from getting an education.

More than five million Syrian refugees live in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.  Many have sought to make the dangerous journey to Europe, and many of those have perished on the perilous sea route along the way.

“Outside Syria, humanitarian aid is clearly insufficient for refugees in neighbouring countries”, he added. “We must restore the integrated international refugee protection regime, so that it offers robust support to Syrians and others. We must share responsibility for Syrian refugees more equitably.”

The Secretary general also denounced the “attacks on civilians and the use of internationally-banned weapons, including sarin and chlorine gas” and stressed that “The United Nations has consistently highlighted the need for accountability”.