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G8 Leaders: Children of Syria can’t wait for peace any longer

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC (June 17, 2013) — As a leading aid agency responding on the ground to the Syrian crisis, World Vision urges all parties, inside and outside Syria — including those in Northern Ireland where the G8 Leaders will meet today — to find a peaceful end to the conflict and ramp up the urgent humanitarian response. The aid and development agency has been responding to the crisis since 2011 and works with more and more children every day who are suffering the effects of the Syrian war.

Three things the U.S. should do at the G8 today:

  1. Immediate action on Syria — This crisis has a child's face with an estimated 50 percent of those affected being children. Tragically, the conflict shows no immediate signs of ceasing and children are caught in a war game. With 1.6 million refugees, and hundreds of thousands more who are unregistered, flooding into neighboring countries with little more than the clothes on their backs and those caught on the frontline suffering injury, torture, death and serious depravation, action must be taken now. The U.S. should use its international reputation to leverage the G8's collective responsibility and influence to promote peace and increased humanitarian assistance in Syria.
  2. Save money while saving lives — In times of a global economic stress, the first thing that often gets cut is aid funding, but in today's interconnected global economy, this only creates more poverty and instability. U.S. must continue to protect global aid and development promises and ensure everyone is accountable for their pledges to child and maternal health and food security. Doing so makes economic sense — prevention is cheaper than a cure. Every dollar invested in reducing under-nutrition results in a $30 return on investment in terms of increased health, schooling and productivity.
  3. Protect children in fragile states — Children in fragile states are the most vulnerable in the world. Not only do they live in conflict zones where they are under constant threat of physical, sexual and gender-based violence, but they also have the highest rates of infant deaths and lowest rates of school enrollments. While global gains have been made in many countries, all of the Millennium Development Goals are failing in fragile states like the DRC, Haiti and Somalia. As the global community turns its attention to the post-2015 development plans, the G8 must play a key role in reaching the most vulnerable children. The next generation shouldn't be born wondering what peace looks like and whether they will live to see their fifth birthday. The U.S. has shown leadership on reducing child and maternal deaths and needs to keep leading through 2015 to finish the job in fragile states.

Comments from the U.S. and the Middle East:

"With more than 90,000 Syrians killed, millions forced to flee their homes, and neighboring countries struggling to host more than 1.5 million refugees, it’s time for G8 leaders to act urgently and responsibly. Millions of Syrians remain vulnerable, the international response to humanitarian needs has been inadequate, and efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict have so far lacked urgency and support. This summit is an opportunity for some of the most powerful and influential countries in the world to prove they are actually committed to meeting the humanitarian needs of at-risk civilians, especially children, and ending the fighting as quickly and peacefully as possible," said Nathaniel Hurd, policy advisor for Conflicts & Disasters, World Vision.

"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," says Conny Lenneberg, World Vision’s director in the Middle East. "We hear their dreadful stories about seeing their friends and relatives killed; about losing their homes, and being too afraid to go to school." 

Quick facts:

  • More than 90,000 people have been killed in Syria, and many of them were children.
  • World Vision has provided assistance to over 98,000 Syrians in Lebanon, and plans to double the number receiving assistance over the next six months.
  • The UN estimates 6.8 million Syrians are in need of aid, including 4.25 million internally displaced persons. An additional 1.6 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
  • The UN appeal for $4.4 billion for Syria and the region, the largest in its history, remains drastically underfunded.

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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.