An Appeal to End the Suffering in Syria

Bouchra, 5, is one of the many children who have fled Syria and are now living in tented settlements in Lebanon. PHOTO: World Vision
Bouchra, 5, is one of the many children who have fled Syria and are now living in tented settlements in Lebanon. PHOTO: World Vision

GENEVA (January 21, 2016) — Three years ago, the leaders of UN humanitarian agencies issued an urgent appeal to those who could end the conflict in Syria. They called for every effort to save the Syrian people. “Enough”, they said, of the suffering and bloodshed.

That was three years ago.

Now, the war is approaching its sixth brutal year. The bloodshed continues. The suffering deepens.

So today, we – leaders of humanitarian organizations and UN agencies – appeal not only to governments but to each of you – citizens around the world – to add your voices in urging an end to the carnage. To urge that all parties reach agreement on a ceasefire and a path to peace.

More than ever before, the world needs to hear a collective public voice calling for an end to this outrage. Because this conflict and its consequences touch us all.

It touches those in Syria who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, who have been uprooted from their homes, or who live in desperation under siege. Today, some 13.5 million people inside Syria need humanitarian assistance. That is not simply a statistic. These are 13.5 million individual human beings whose lives and futures are in jeopardy.

It touches the families who, with few options for a better future, set out on perilous journeys to foreign lands in search of refuge. The war has seen 4.6 million people flee to neighboring countries and beyond.

It touches a generation of children and young people who – deprived of education and traumatized by the horrors they have experienced –increasingly see their future shaped only by violence.

It touches those far beyond Syria who have seen the violent repercussions of the crisis reach the streets, offices and restaurants closer to their homes.

And it touches all those around the world whose economic wellbeing is affected, in ways visible and invisible, by the conflict.

Those with the ability to stop the suffering can – and therefore should – take action now. Until there is a diplomatic solution to the fighting, such action should include:

  • Unimpeded and sustained access for humanitarian organizations to bring immediate relief to all those in need inside Syria
  • Humanitarian pauses and unconditional, monitored ceasefires to allow food and other urgent assistance to be delivered to civilians, vaccinations and other health campaigns, and for children to return to school
  • A cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure – so that schools and hospitals and water supplies are kept safe
  • Freedom of movement for all civilians and the immediate lifting of all sieges by all parties

These are practical actions. There is no practical reason they could not be implemented if there is the will to do so.

In the name of our shared humanity… for the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much…and for the millions more whose lives and futures hang in the balance, we call for action now.


21 January 2016

Names of signatories:

Adriano Campolina, Chief Executive, Actionaid

Daniel Wordsworth, President and CEO, American Refugee Committee

Marie-Pierre Caley, CEO, ACTED

Daigo Takagi, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan

Mohammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Chief Executive, AwazCDS and Pakistan Development Alliance

Hisham Dirani, CEO, BINAA Organization for Development

Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary General, Care International

Michel Roy, Secretary General, Caritas International

Carolyn Woo, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

Marie Soueid, Policy Counsel, Center for Victims of Torture

Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance

Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service

Dominic MacSorley, Chief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide

W. Douglas Jackson, PhD, JD, President/CEO, PROJECT C.U.R.E.

Benoit Van Keirsbilck, Director, DEI-Belgique

Dr. Dirk Hegmanns, Regional Director Turkey/Syria/Iraq, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Rosa G. Lizarde, Global Director, Feminist Task Force

Global Call to Action against Poverty

Florence Syevuo, Global Call to Action against Poverty, Kenya

David A. Weiss, President and CEO, Global Communities

Barry Andrews, CEO, GOAL Ireland

James Mitchum, Chief Executive Officer, Heart to Heart International

Anne Hery, Director for Advocacy and Institutional Relations,Handicap International

Handicap International, Belgium

Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International

Samuel A. Worthington, CEO, InterAction

Maryanne Diamond, Chair, International Disability Alliance

Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, CEO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Nancy A. Aossey, President & CEO, International Medical Corp

William L. Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration

International Organization for Migration, Netherlands

Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director and CEO, International Orthodox Christian Charities

Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J. International Director, Jesuit Refugee Service

Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder and CEO, Karam Foundation

Kerk in Actie, Netherlands

Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps

Dato Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, President, Mercy Malaysia

Richard Allen, CEO, Mentor Initiative

Anne-Marie Helland, General Secretary, Norwegian Church Aid

Jan Egeland, Secretary-General, Norwegian Refugee Council

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Oxfam Great Britain

People in Need

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International

Dirk Van Maele, Director, Plan België

Monique van ‘t Hek, Director, Plan Nederland

Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO, Plan International USA

Curtis N. Rhodes Jr., International Director, Questscope

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International

Nancy E. Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Relief International

Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace

Dr. Haytham Alhamwi, Director, Rethink Rebuild

Janti Soeripto, Interim CEO, Save the Children, International

Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada

Jonas Keiding Lindholm, CEO Save the Children Denmark

Kathrin Wieland, CEO, Save the Children Germany

Amy Fong, Chief Executive, Save the Children Hong Kong

Pim Kraan, Director, Save the Children Netherlands

Heather Hayden, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children New Zealand

Tove Wang, CEO, Save the Children Norway

Justin Forsyth, CEO, Save the Children UK

Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children USA

SOS Kinderdorpen, Netherlands

Dr. Jihad Qaddour, President, Syria Relief and Development

Tineke Ceelen, Director, Stichting Vluchteling, Netherlands

Abdullah Hanoun, CEO, Syrian Community of the South West UK

Cécil Van Maelsaeke, Director, Tearfund, Belgium

Tearfund, UK

Noreen Gumbo, Head of Humanitarian Programmes, Trócaire

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

David Morley, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada

Marja-Riitta Ketola, Executive Director, Finnish National Committee for UNICEF

Bergsteinn Jónsson, Executive Director, UNICEF Iceland

Peter Power, Executive Director, UNICEF Ireland

Jan Bouke Wijbrandi, Executive Director, UNICEF Netherlands,

Vivien Maidaborn, Executive Director UNICEF New Zealand

Bernt G. Apeland, Executive Director, UNICEF Norway

Carmelo Angulo Barturen, President, Spanish National Committee for UNICEF,

Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund

Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church

Lavinia Limón, President and CEO, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Sarina Prabasi, Chief Executive Officer, WaterAid America

Sarah Costa, Executive Director, Women’s Refugee Commission

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme

Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

John Lyon, President, World Hope International

Hélène H. Oord, Chief, Worldview Mission

Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO, World Vision International

– END –

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • Nearly 100 organizations have come together to call for immediate action
  • Calling for full, unrestricted access to those desperately in need of aid
  • 13.5 million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance