Humanitarian Coalition welcomes new Government of Canada Syria Emergency Relief Fund and calls for increased support
The Humanitarian Coalition welcomes the Government of Canada’s recent creation of a matching fund in response to the conflict in Syria, and commitment to provide greater government investment in humanitarian assistance to Syria as well as neighbouring countries on the front lines of the crisis. This includes humanitarian organizations providing life-saving water, food, shelter, education, health services and protection, especially for women and children.
The Humanitarian Coalition has launched a national joint appeal to help survivors of the ongoing conflict in Syria. Ever since the start of the conflict, Humanitarian Coalition members (CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children Canada) have been on the ground providing life-saving aid supplies such as water, food, blankets, and medicines in Syria and in neighbouring countries. So far, our agencies have reached over 2 million people affected by the crisis in Syria.
“The current conflict in Syria, which is now well into its fourth year, has left millions of people in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. It’s forced families to make unbearable choices and take terrible risks,” says Nicolas Moyer, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Coalition. “Any action that encourages support to Syrian families right now is both welcome and important. What’s most needed from a humanitarian perspective is immediate, predictable and dependable funding that is flexible in terms of meeting urgent needs. We encourage the government to make funding decisions as quickly as possible.”
Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Latest estimates indicate that 12.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and half of all Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. This includes 7.6 million internally displaced people who are living in vacated buildings, urban slums and in open spaces without proper shelter, as well as in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Syrian men, women and children in these places are increasingly vulnerable and unable to access basic services such as health care, education, sanitation and protection. Refugee women and girls are increasingly vulnerable to gender-based violence, including forced and child marriage, sexual violence and rape.
Globally, the Syria crisis is only 37% funded. All donor countries need to escalate their support to the region and provide humanitarian assistance that is sufficient, immediate, steady and flexible.
Additionally, as the global community works together to stem the damage of this expanding humanitarian emergency, the Humanitarian Coalition calls on all countries, including Canada, to maximize their generosity in terms of resettling refugees within their borders, and accelerate the processing of refugee claimants in line with their international obligations.
“The outpouring of support that we’ve seen from everyday Canadians in the past few weeks has been both welcome and inspiring,” continues Moyer. “Canada has an opportunity to translate the caring and concern of its citizens into action on the global stage. We need to increase both the number and ease of processing for both government- and privately-sponsored refugees and work to see that governments around the world provide predictable and safe routes to refuge. We need to increase the delivery of vital supplies, mental health supports and safe spaces for children forced to live in refugee camps. Finally, Canada needs to play a lead role in finding a political settlement to the conflict. In these ways, we can begin to find lasting solutions to this protracted crisis.”
Never before has the world seen so many refugees and internally-displaced people – 59.5 million according to a UN report released in June this year – over half of them children, with the numbers growing daily. The current Syria emergency is a watershed moment for all countries, including Canada, to review their response to the broader global refugee crisis.