The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

Search This Blog

March 25, 2015

The Daily Star - Kuwait III aid for millions of displaced Syrians, March 25, 2015

Rubina Abu Zeinab-Chahine

Even if the conflict were to end tomorrow Syrians will need assistance for years to come. The conflict has left millions of people hungry, ailing or displaced. The world figures estimate the conflict has reversed development gains in Syria by 35 years, with half its people now living in poverty. Children, women and men are trapped, hungry, ill and losing hope. Even under the best circumstances, the fighting has set Syria back years, even decades.

As the war in Syria has entered its fifth year, Kuwait will host the third International Humanitarian Donors’ conference for Syria on March 31, 2015. We are less than one week from this international gathering and the conflict continues in Syria. The conference, which will work on raising money to help the Syrian people and raise awareness of their suffering, will present a “new hope” for millions of displaced Syrians.

The international community will ask for more support to help people affected by what is currently the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. As many as 78 nations and 40 international organizations will attend the conference in Kuwait, known as Kuwait III, which aims to raise billions of dollars for U.N. humanitarian operations in Syria.

Kuwait hosted the first and second aid-pledging conferences for Syria in 2013 and 2014. The two gatherings proved successful, with the first raising $1.5 billion in aid pledges and the second $2.4 billion. However, U.N. humanitarian agencies have complained that many donors have not followed through on pledges, forcing them to cut aid to millions of Syrians.

The humanitarian situation in Syria and the conditions for refugees in neighboring countries continue to deteriorate. More than 12.2 million Syrians now need humanitarian assistance including 7.6 million internally displaced people who are struggling to survive and cope with the crisis. More than 3.8 million people have fled Syria, seeking refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. As per the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Syrian refugees reached 1.6 million in Turkey and 622,000 in Jordan. At least 1.2 million Syrian refugees have registered with the U.N. in Lebanon, but officials believe the actual number is much higher.

The remarkable increase of Syrian refugees causes a substantial economic burden on those countries, and calls for support and assistance to relieve the burden of hosting refugees.

The countries hosting Syrian refugees are struggling with the massive impact on their economies, societies and infrastructure which threatens not only their stability but the stability of the entire region. The international community must come through now with support – including for neighboring states hosting refugees – and look ahead to plan for long-term recovery. Those nations must receive a large share of the donations because their task is neither easy nor limited since the Syrians will be there until the conflict ends.

Lebanese communities which are hosting Syrian refugees suffer from poverty and high unemployment rates that would undermine security. Therefore it is very important to highlight the plan launched by the U.N. and the Lebanese government which aims at addressing the influx of refugees in order to guarantee proper assistance for those in dire need. Lebanon will ask the Kuwait III conference for $2.1 billion to address the refugees’ needs over the course of two years.

A traditional humanitarian response is no longer enough. The task ahead requires a comprehensive response to the crisis that builds the resilience of these communities and government institutions. “We need a new aid architecture that links support to the refugees with what is being done to stabilize the communities who host them,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ant?nio Guterres said.

On the Dec. 18, 2014, the United Nations and partners launched a major new humanitarian and development appeal, requesting more than $8.4 billion to help nearly 18 million people in Syria and across the region in 2015. The 2015 Syrian response plan and the regional refugee and resilience plan was launched in Berlin.

The appeal includes two main elements: supporting the more than 12 million displaced and conflict-affected people inside Syria, and addressing the needs of the millions of Syrian refugees in the region along with the countries and communities hosting them. The 2015 appeal incorporates, for the first time, significant development aspects in addition to the life-saving humanitarian needs of the largest number of displaced people in the world.

The resilience component is about helping more than a million vulnerable people in communities who will benefit from assistance program and focus on the creation of economic opportunities.

Syria’s war is still escalating and the humanitarian situation is growing protracted. Refugees and internally displaced people have exhausted their savings and resources, and host countries are at a breaking point.

We all hope that this new approach embodies a strategic shift in the method of delivering aid for the region, a strategy that brings together emergency humanitarian operations and host community support with a longer-term program aimed at boosting resilience.

Rubina Abu Zeinab-Chahine is the executive director of the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development.

No comments:

Post a Comment