March 7, 2014 -- March 15 marks the third anniversary of the Syria crisis. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is Standing #WithSyria, and with millions of people and other organizations across the globe, to shed light on the desperate situation and urge immediate and unfettered access for humanitarian aid to protect the millions of innocent children and families now under siege. The world can no longer remain indifferent to their plight.
"After so much continuing violence, Syrians are really tired -- frustrated and tired. We need those fighting each other to recall the existence of a minimum of human ethics and respect for basic humanity," said Fr Nawras Sammour S.J., JRS Middle East Director, during a recent trip to the U.S.
Our firm belief in a real and inclusive peace is the cornerstone of our advocacy, whose aim is to engage the international community to work towards key goals. Our priority is to promote diplomatic efforts and to apply pressure on the Syrian government and opposition groups to agree upon an immediate ceasefire and to reach a negotiated solution.
"War is not going to solve anything," said Fr. Sammour. "We need to have a peaceful process, we need to get people together and allow them to talk together. ... that's my hope."
JRS in Syria is focusing mainly on two fronts: emergency relief to those in greatest need and educational activities that enhance reconciliation and co-existence amongst people of different socio-economic and faith backgrounds.
Stand with the people of Syria
Currently, the emergency relief consists of food support, provision of hygiene kits, non-food items such as blankets and clothing, basic healthcare, managing of shelters and rent support. Fundamental to the mission of JRS in Syria is the educational and psychosocial support that is offered to 9,800 children and women. In total, more than 300,000 people are helped by JRS in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo and the coastal areas of Syria.
In addition to building strong relationships based on trust and fairness, JRS has its unique way of working with families. Accompaniment, one of the pillars of JRS work is embodied in recurrent family visits, which are at the heart of every JRS project across the region. Through the visits, JRS is able to identify the needs of families, and more importantly, to address these needs.
On this third anniversary of the Syrian conflict, we stand with Syria and commit to doing everything we can to ensure that the people of Syria do not lose another year to bloodshed and suffering. We stand with the people of Syria, and people around the world, in calling for our leaders to make the same commitment. Specifically, JRS/USA and our colleagues at InterAction call on:
1. All parties to the conflict in Syria to work with the United Nations and donor governments to immediately allow and facilitate unfettered humanitarian access throughout Syria in keeping with the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2139.
2. Donor governments to meet the 2014 UN humanitarian funding appeal of $6.5 billion for the Syria crisis.
3. Donor governments to continue to support neighboring countries and host communities that are generously supporting refugees fleeing the conflict, including support for training programs and job opportunities that encourage self-reliance.
4. The international community to increase resettlement of refugees from Syria, particularly the most vulnerable, to third countries and ensure that resettlement and asylum is a component of the overall humanitarian response.