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Joint Statement on Syria

2017-01-16

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake

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

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi

DAVOS, Switzerland, January 16, 2017– While efforts to fully implement a ceasefire in Syria continue, we again appeal for immediate, unconditional, and safe access to reach the children and families who are still cut off from humanitarian aid across the country.

In Syria today, there are 15 besieged areas where up to 700,000 people, including an estimated 300,000 children, still remain trapped. Nearly five million people, including more than two million children, live in areas that are extremely difficult to reach with humanitarian assistance due to fighting, insecurity and restricted access.

All over Syria, people continue to suffer because they lack the most basic elements to sustain their lives – and because of the continued risk of violence.  We – indeed, the world – must not stand silent while parties to the conflict continue to use denial of food, water, medical supplies, and other forms of aid as weapons of war.

Children are at heightened risk of malnutrition, dehydration, diarrhoea, infectious diseases, and injury. Many need support after being exposed to traumatic events, violence and other violations.  Tragically, far too many children have known little but conflict and loss in their young lives.

The horrors of the siege of the eastern districts of Aleppo have disappeared from the public consciousness – but we must not let the needs, the lives and the futures of Syria’s people fade from the world’s conscience. 

We must not let 2017 repeat the tragedies of 2016 for Syria.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.

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