Children’s lives at stake unless Syria Crisis donors ‘shift up a gear’

World leaders gathering in London today must make a realistic and robust funding pledge for families who have fled the Syria conflict, and serious commitments to ensure humanitarian access for the millions of people still in need inside Syria, children’s charity World Vision said.

“Attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals abound in Syria and access restrictions remain a tactic of war despite UN Security Council Resolutions, while a funding shortfall means refugees face increasing hardship in countries surrounding Syria. Access to legal stay and employment is limited and poverty rates are rising to unprecedented levels,” said Fran Charles, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Advocacy Director.

Families inside Syria and in neighbouring countries are making difficult decisions just to help their families survive, including withdrawing children from school, sending them to work and entering them into early marriage.

There are over two million children out of school inside Syria alone with large numbers also out of school in neighbouring countries. A commitment of at least $1.4 billion dollars annually for education is needed otherwise we face the very real possibility of a lost generation of Syrian children.

Conny Lenneberg, World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe, said: 

“Peace in Syria in the only true solution – but while talks are ongoing , political leaders must wake up to the reality of millions of Syrians blocked from receiving aid and refugees languishing in neighbouring countries facing an utterly desperate situation which is only getting worse. All parties to the conflict are committing grave violations against children with a complete disregard for international humanitarian law. 

“Many families are facing such dire conditions, eking out an existence in a flimsy tent or tin shelter, that they’re making the bold but life-threatening decision to trek to Europe in search of stability – and, frankly, some dignity. Sadly, it rarely works out that way. 

“Some children have been in this situation since the war started – that’s half a decade. Many others were born into this war. For the sake of Syria’s next generation, we can’t let these families’ hopes fade. We urge donors to make flexible funding pledges and focus on programmes that address long term needs, the only real way to address the protracted nature of the crisis.”

World Vision works with displaced people inside Syria and Iraq, affected populations in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and along the route in Eastern Europe where families are arriving with young children in winter conditions. 

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