THE international community is guilty of neglecting human
suffering in Syria, suggests a report just released by a group of
21 international humanitarian and human-rights organisations to
mark the start of the fifth year of the conflict. The chief failing
has been the lack of implementation of the UN Security Council
resolutions that sought to protect and improve the plight of
The groups, including Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam, Save the
Children, and World Vision International, say that the past year
has been the worst of the four thus far for civilian suffering.
The report, Failing Syria, remarks that, despite the
adoption in 2014 of three resolutions by the Security Council
demanding action to secure protection and assistance for civilians,
in reality humanitarian access to large parts of Syria has
diminished, and more people are being killed, displaced, and in
need of help than ever before. UN resolutions have been "ignored or
undermined by the parties to the conflict, members of the Security
Council, and other member states", it states.
The 21 organisations back up their allegations with figures. The
world, they say, has failed to improve protection for the people of
Syria: 76,000 were killed in 2014, out of a total of at least
220,000 deaths over the four years. The passage of aid has not
improved: 4.8 million people live in areas defined by the UN as
"hard to reach", 2.3 million more than in 2013.
Humanitarian needs have increased: the number of children in
need of aid (5.6 million) was up by 31 per cent since 2013; but
humanitarian funding has decreased compared with need.
The 21 organisations are calling on UN member states, including
the permanent members of the Security Council, to go beyond words
and ensure that the resolutions are fully implemented. "Ultimately,
the Syrian people need peace," the advocacy director for the World
Vision Syria Response, Frances Charles, said. "While a political
solution is sought, civilians must be protected and assured access
to humanitarian assistance."
She said that 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."