I make this statement on behalf of the co-penholders of the Syria humanitarian file, Ireland and Norway. Many thanks to the briefers for making clear the sheer breadth and depth of the humanitarian needs across Syria. As penholders we remain deeply concerned about the almost 15 million Syrians who need humanitarian protection and assistance for their survival.
Soaring food prices have led to widespread and deepening food insecurity. Humanitarian assistance is keeping people alive. We must scale up. We welcome the substantial pledges made at the Brussels conference – they show the continued commitment of donors to support the people of Syria.
Syria is a dangerous place to grow up for children. In many parts, children and their families live in fear of death, violence, and sexual assault. And women and girls are put in a particularly vulnerable situation – underscoring the need for their continued participation in the design, and implementation of the humanitarian response. We are deeply concerned that violence and forced displacement have resulted in limited access to education and healthcare, and have had dire psychosocial effects on children. Parties to the conflict must immediately cease the grave violations and abuses of the rights of children.
We urge all parties listed in the SG’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict to develop, and fully implement, action plans to end, and prevent, violations against children in Syria.
With the overwhelming and increasing humanitarian needs in Syria, it remains critical that this Council stands unified in its resolve to mitigate them. With resolution 2585, the Council recalled the need for all parties to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law- which includes ensuring full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access.
Ireland and Norway, as co-penholders, strongly support the use of all modalities to deliver aid to the millions of Syrians in need.
This week’s arrival of another humanitarian convoy across the conflict-line into the North-West, is very welcome. We commend the UN and its partners for making progress on these cross-line deliveries. However, more can, and must be done. We call on all parties to: support cross-line deliveries to all parts of Syria; to de-politicise aid deliveries; and to grant the necessary security guarantees to ensure the safe passage of cross-line convoys and their personnel.
With several hundred trucks every month, the cross-border mechanism remains the critical life-line for millions in need in North-West Syria. Month after month it delivers food, medical items, and shelter – all monitored and checked. It is clear that there is no other alternative which could replicate the scale, scope, and benefits of this operation. Without the cross-border mechanism, millions of lives would be at even greater risk. This Council must prevent that from happening.
As penholders, we welcome also the progress in implementing early recovery projects.
The increased funding and recognition of early recovery in the humanitarian response, are important steps. Sustainable solutions are key to prevent a further increase in the number of people in need. This work must continue.
The devastating humanitarian situation means that this Council must abide by its unified and collective duty to support the Syrian people. The people of Syria are counting on this Council. We must not fail them.