World Vision Media Relations Manager
“World leaders are ignoring the children of Syria by failing to demand an immediate ceasefire and seek peaceful solutions. They are instead escalating the conflict by providing military aid to parties to the conflict,” said Conny Lenneberg, World Vision director in the Middle East. “Children in Syria continue to be targeted, killed, tortured, and forced to fight or flee on a daily basis. This must stop, which can only be meaningfully done through fully ceasing hostilities and peacefully resolving the conflict. Pouring petrol on a fire does not put it out. All of the efforts of the international community must be directed at halting hostilities that have already destroyed the lives of one third of Syria’s people.”
“We’ve heard in the latest UN figures that more than 90,000 people have been killed in Syria, and many of them were children,” said Lenneberg. World Vision has been consistently calling on the international community to prevent further militarization of the conflict and work with all parties to bring an end to violence. Money should be spent on filling the serious shortfalls in aid needed to meet the already massive [and] rapidly growing humanitarian needs, including a United Nations appeal for four billion dollars, which remains seriously underfunded.”
The international community must use the upcoming Group of 8 (G8) meeting in Northern Ireland to leverage its collective responsibility and influence to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict as well as to provide generous humanitarian support to affected children, women and communities in Syria and refugee hosting countries.
World Vision, as a humanitarian organization working on the Syria crisis, deals daily with children who have suffered the effects of war in Syria.
“We hear their dreadful stories about seeing their friends and relatives killed; about losing their homes, and being too afraid to go to school. I met a grandmother who fled to Lebanon with her four grandchildren, ages 2 to 12 and her husband who suffers from dementia. Her eldest grandson was wounded by the same bullet that killed his mother and they don’t know where the children’s father is. Parents tell us that their children wake screaming in the middle of the night; that they wet their beds and jump in fright if there is a loud noise or a plane flying overhead,” said Lenneberg.
World Vision calls on all parties to the conflict to stop using the loss of innocent lives as a pretext for refusing to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. This is unacceptable. The killing of civilians is why they must urgently prioritize ending use of force and ensuring the safety of civilians.
World Vision is also asking all parties to the conflict to provide aid organizations, and ordinary Syrian civilians, with safe and unimpeded access throughout Syrian territory, in accordance with International Humanitarian Law, to assist children and families in need. For aid organizations, this includes access from across the border of neighboring states.
“We’re particularly concerned about the potential for donors to divert badly needed humanitarian funds for any other purposes, especially military ones. This can lead to the protraction of the conflict and put people who are already suffering, especially children, in further jeopardy,” said Lenneberg.
- END -
On-the-ground photos and interviews are available. For more information contact Lauren Fisher at +1.206.310.5476.
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews