Crisis in Syria: Development and Peace welcomes the announcement by the Government of Canada to increase humanitarian aid but is concerned about the military solutions put forward to resolve the conflict

February 12, 2016
Montréal

Development and Peace welcomes the announcement made this week by the Government of Canada to increase the amount allocated to humanitarian aid and long-term development to help Syrians who have been suffering from the tragic consequences of war for almost five years now. The organization calls on the Government of Canada to ensure that humanitarian aid is properly routed to the most vulnerable people and to intensify its diplomatic efforts in the peace process.

“We welcome with open arms the government's announced increase in the amount for humanitarian aid to meet the extreme suffering of millions of Syrians today. However, it’s still important to secure the delivery of this aid so that it can really benefit the people who need it most in neighbouring countries as well as within Syria, especially in besieged areas. If safe access to aid is not ensured, the most vulnerable people will be left behind,” says David Leduc, Executive Director of Development and Peace. All parties to the conflict have an obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure access to humanitarian aid.

According to the United Nations, during almost 5 years of war, 13.5 million Syrians have needed immediate humanitarian aid and 4.6 million people have been forced to seek refuge outside their country, while 6.6 million people have been internally displaced, of whom over a third are confined in besieged or difficult-to- access areas and are trying to survive in extremely precarious conditions.

Development and Peace also calls on the government to strengthen its role in the peace process and not to resort to a military solution. “The Government of Canada has made a commitment to pursue a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria, and we invite them to do everything in their power to support this process. Sustainable peace will not be possible as long as the sound of gunfire continues to reverberate in the country,” adds David Leduc. In a petition launched in 2014, Development and Peace calls on the Government of Canada to actively contribute to an inclusive peace process, knowing that a lasting solution to this conflict can only be diplomatic and negotiated, and to introduce economic and political measures to stem the sources of financing and weapons of the warring parties in order to put an end to the violence.

Development and Peace has been responding to the crisis in Syria since the fall of 2012. In Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, the organization has invested $24.2M in humanitarian aid and local initiatives to promote peace, which has assisted more than 600,000 Syrians. Development and Peace works in collaboration with local partner organizations, including Caritas Lebanon, Caritas Jordan and Jesuit Refugee Service. Since September 2015 when the Government of Canada announced that it would match donations by Canadians, Development and Peace has received $2.2M in eligible donations. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this crisis, Development and Peace stresses that the situation is increasingly difficult for the Syrian people and that needs will still be felt for a number of years to come.

Individual donations made until February 29th to Development and Peace for its Syria Emergency Relief Fund are eligible to be matched by the Canadian government. Donations can be made at devp.org; by phone at 1-888-234-8533; also by sending a cheque made out to Development and Peace (please indicate Syria Crisis) to 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd. W., 3rd Floor, Montreal, QC, H3G 1T7. You can also sign our petition calling on the Government of Canada to protect civilians in Syria and to end the conflict by diplomatic means.

 

 

Photo: ©Irene Broz/Caritas

 

For more information, please contact: Khoudia Ndiaye, Communications Officer
514-257-8711 ext. 318 514-772-9085
kndiaye@devp.org