By Rebecca Hamill-Nobrega
A joint report released today by various aid agencies said the UN Security Council (UNSC) has failed in protecting and alleviating the suffering of Syrian civilians.
At the end of February 2o14, the UNSC demanded an increase in humanitarian aid and called for all parties stop attacks on civilians, end kidnapping and torture, and lift sieges in populated area, the report said.
The report compares the demands made by the UNSC with what is actually happening in reality today.
“We made it a scorecard. We wanted to be really objective and fair in our approach and analysis in what is going on with the response to Syria,” said Kirsten Walkom, National Senior Manager of Public Relations for Save the Children.
The report looked at four areas: Protection of civilians, Humanitarian access and besieged communities, international contributions to the humanitarian response, and political developments and solutions.
“We wanted to be really objective and fair in our approach and analysis” – Walkom
They all received either a failing grade or had no improvement.
“Some of the ways we have found they have failed is when we look at protection of civilians,” said Walkom.
The UN said they would demand all parties cease attacks against civilians, and for all parties to demilitarize medical facilities, schools, and civilian centres, she said. “We’ve actually seen that there has been an increase.”
Walkom told Humber News that UN agencies and NGOs need to scale-up protection both inside and outside of Syria.
The UN Security council needs to take immediate steps to hold accountable those who are in breach of humanitarian law, she said.
- At least 76,000 people were killed in 2014, out of a total of 220,00o over past four years
- There’s been a 26 per cent increase in the number of people forced to flee their homes inside Syria and across international borders in refugee communities in 2014.
- 1.33 million more children are in need and there has been a 31 per cent increase in the population as a whole
- More than 5.6 million children are in need of aid, an increase from last year
- Since 2011, there’s been a 53 per cent increase of civilian deaths as a result of explosive weapons.
“We need the Security Council and governments to really influence and put an emphasis on urgent stoppage, finding a political solution that will support the UN special envoy to put a freeze on the fighting inside and outside Syria,” said Walkom.
Through partnership with the UN, the agency hopes for a significant improvement.
The years 2013 and 2014 were the worst years in terms of the number of deaths, and so, a group of like minded agencies set out to put together some ideas and recommendations to look at what’s happened, Ann Witteveen, Humanitarian Manager for Oxfam Canada told Humber News.
Calling it a scorecard is to try to really generate a little bit of interest, frustration and emotion around this crisis, Witteveen said.
To determine the success or failure of the implementation of resolutions, this grading criteria was used:
“The crisis in Syria is not yet improving. They need more international support and the UN needs to work more to solve the crisis” said Kaerda Gurung, Donor Services manager of the Toronto-based International Rescue Committee.
The agencies want Canadians to start asking politicians if there’s something more that can be done diplomatically to push for an end to the hostilities, and ask whether Canada is contributing enough to the humanitarian situation that the people in Syria are facing, Witteveen said.
“Canada has been a very good donor”- Witteveen
“To Canadians, it can seem really far away, but in fact, it’s something we should be concerned about,” she said. However, Canada has been a very good donor over the years.
The UN Security Council could do a lot more to pressure the “roaring parties” to start negotiating for a solution, said Witteveen.
“We think that more can be done politically to push it and there’s not enough worldwide pressure on everybody who could do something.”