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.

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April 1, 2015

The Daily Star - International donors pledge $3.8B in aid for Syrians, 01 April, 2015

International donors committed $3.8 billion in aid for Syrians affected by the grinding civil war at a donors’ conference in Kuwait Tuesday, as Lebanon’s share from the package remained unclear.

Delivering an address during the conference, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam said that his government had prepared a plan, the cost “amounting to over $1 billion,” in order to cope with the refugee crisis in his country.

“The government presents you a detailed plan amounting to over $1 billion ... featuring necessary developmental projects in water management, sewage systems, solid wastes, agriculture, energy, transportation, health, education and others,” Salam said.

“This proposal, which could be amended in line with your suggestions, is in line with the ‘Crisis Response Plan’ for years 2015 and 2016, prepared by the government in cooperation with international organizations and costing $2.1 billion,” Salam added.

The prime minister explained that the presence of around 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which already suffers from a fragile socio-economic, political and security situation, has presented the country with huge challenges.

Salam said that financial aid should be provided to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to host communities as well.

On the sidelines of the conference, Salam held meetings with international and Arab figures, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and others.

“The secretary-general [Ban] noted that the U.N. continues to urge donors to contribute to Lebanon. He commended the prime minister’s leadership in upholding national unity and said he hoped that the political parties would overcome their differences and resolve outstanding issues, including the election of a president,” a U.N. statement said. “The secretary-general welcomed the renewed calm on the Blue Line and the recommitment by all sides to the cessation of hostilities. He praised the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces in preserving security and hoped for swift delivery of international support to the Army.” Salam and the Lebanese delegation arrived in Beirut Tuesday.

The financial aid pledged during the gathering is less than half of what the U.N. requested for this year to cope with the growing humanitarian crisis.

“Unless more donor countries massively step up in the wake of the conference, the increasing numbers of people fleeing their homes and struggling to survive will be less and less likely to receive assistance,” said Andy Baker, who leads Oxfam’s response to the Syria crisis. “What does the international community expect millions of Syrians to survive on? The collective response risks leaving the nearly 4 million refugees and those trapped in Syria to their fate while neighboring countries face unbearable strain.”

More than a quarter of the total came from two countries: Kuwait, which hosted the third annual conference and pledged half a billion dollars, and the United States, which promised the largest single commitment of $507 million.

More than $118 million of the funds provided by the U.S. will be provided to assist with the refugee crisis in Lebanon, a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon said.

Gulf envoys addressing the conference said the United Arab Emirates pledged $100 million. Saudi Arabia pledged $60 million, while Norway said it would pay $93 million and the United Kingdom $150 million.

At last year’s donors’ conference, about $2.4 billion was pledged, though the U.N. had called for $6.5 billion. In 2013, some $1.5 billion was pledged, less than half the U.N.’s appeal for $4.4 billion.

The U.N. humanitarian office’s Financial Tracking Service said in November that nearly a quarter of last year’s pledges, or $585 million, had not been fulfilled. The European Commission and EU member states pledged close to $1.2 billion total, double the overall EU pledge at last year’s conference.

The U.N. requested $8.4 billion this year – its largest appeal yet for the war-ravaged country.

It says $2.9 billion is needed in 2015 for Syrians inside the country and $5.5 billion for those who have fled to the five surrounding countries.

The civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed at least 220,000 people. Around 11 million people, or half of Syria’s population, have been displaced, according to U.N. figures. Of the displaced, nearly 4 million have been forced to flee to the nearby countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

Ban said the money pledged would help Syria’s neighbors overcome the strain of hosting millions of refugees as he announced the total amount pledged during the one-day conference in the opulent Bayan Palace.

Earlier in the day, he offered stinging remarks, saying Syrians are the victims of the “worst humanitarian crisis of our time,” and that he has “only shame and deep anger and frustration at the international community’s impotence to stop the war.”

“They are not asking for sympathy, they are asking for help,” he said of the Syrian people.

Some 78 countries and 40 international aid organizations were present at this year’s conference.

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