*** DEBUG END ***

UN resolution may ease suffering of children in Syria

28 February 2014


Bad education: children pose for a picture with their toy weapons in a damaged school in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, last Friday

Bad education: children pose for a picture with their toy weapons in a damaged school in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, last Friday

THE prospect of easing civilian suffering in Syria came after the UN Security Council last weekend passed a unanimous resolution calling for humanitarian-aid convoys to be allowed access to all areas of the country.

Russia, Syria's strongest ally, was one of the supporters of the resolution. The resolution was met with only a guarded response from the Syrian government.

The UN resolution demands that "all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders".

It insists that all parties "immediately cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas...and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or un-necessary suffering".

Russia also agreed that the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, should report back to the Security Council in 30 days on the implementation of the resolution, and the UN expressed its "intent to take further steps in the case of non-compliance".

There is, nevertheless, no agreement among council members on what those steps might be. Moscow continues to oppose the use of force against the government.

Mr Ban, while welcoming the resolution, said after the vote that "Humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated: it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law. Profoundly shocking to me is that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war."

The Syrian government said that it would co-operate with the UN humanitarian initiative, provided that the "root causes" of the conflict and the humanitarian crisis were tackled. The Assad authorities insist that they are battling "foreign-backed terrorism" rather than a revolt against the regime.

They also want the lifting of sanctions before agreeing to the free flow of aid. So the rare occurrence of a unanimous resolution on Syria is unlikely to be translated overnight into a significant easing of civilian suffering.

The UN Children's Fund, the UN Refugee Agency, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, and World Vision are jointly urging the public to "voice its outrage at the devastating impact" that the Syria war is having on children (bit.ly/nolostgeneration).

They are also warning of "the alarming long-term consequences of a lost generation as the conflict approaches its fourth year".

With nearly 5.5 million children affected inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, the five organisations warn that "without an end to the relentless horror and suffering for children, and without increased investment in their education and protection, an entire generation could be lost to Syria and the wider region."

The groups involved in the appeal are making five demands: an end to violence against children; an end to the blocking of humanitarian assistance; an end to attacks on humanitarian workers and facilities; a renewed commitment to reconciliation and tolerance; and more investment in children's education and psychological protection.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)