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IFRC reaction to Brussels Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”

by IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy | International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Thursday, 6 April 2017 09:04 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, has issued the following statement:

“Our message has been consistent and clear: there is no future for Syria without peace.

“But in the continued absence of that peace, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in support of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and alongside our colleagues from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian partners, will continue to do what we have been doing for more than six years: we will accompany affected communities to respond to their needs and to recover their dignity.

“We welcome the announcement made today of new resources for relief efforts in Syria and in surrounding countries. For millions of people, including those living in hard-to-reach or besieged areas, humanitarian organizations like the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are their only lifeline, their only source of hope. Any focus on Syria’s future cannot come at the expense of Syria’s present, and the pressing and massive needs of people across the country, and of the more than 5 million Syrians who have fled to neighbouring countries and beyond.

“However, whenever we can, we also need to do a better job of supporting people to become stronger and more resilient. There are examples of this being done, but it’s not enough – we need to bring these efforts to scale. I was in Syria last week and this was a message that I heard repeatedly. People want our support so that they can recover what is dearest to them: their human dignity.

“I was glad to hear the appreciation expressed by many partners for the work of local organizations, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in surrounding countries. It is my hope that this appreciation will translate into dedicated investment in strengthening the capacity of those on the ground.

“Of course, we must also recognize that the work of these organizations too often comes at a terrible price. We must do more to protect humanitarian workers. We cannot continue to measure their courage through the number that we lose in the line of duty.

“Finally, I would like to thank the European Union, United Nations, and the Governments of Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom for organizing and hosting this event.”

For media:

In Brussels: Eva Oyon, +32 2 235 09 22, eva.oyon@redcross.eu 

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org