Syria peace conference: joint statement on need for humanitarian access

‘Agreeing a negotiated peace is going to be difficult; however, committing to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches all those in need shouldn’t be’
 
The Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty and the heads of six other leading human rights and humanitarian organisations - CARE USA, Human Rights Watch, Mercy Corps, Oxfam International, Save the Children International and World Vision - have today issued a joint statement calling for urgent humanitarian access to Syria as the “Geneva 2” peace conference talks get under way in Switzerland.
 
The human rights heads are in Switzerland this week holding high-level meetings with senior representatives of countries who have influence in the Syria conflict, and they will be available for reaction and response to events at the peace talks this week. 
 
Their joint-statement reads:
 
“The Syrian Government is meeting for the first time with representatives from the Syrian opposition in what will hopefully be the first steps towards a sustainable peace. 
 
“Meanwhile millions of Syrians are enduring a second winter displaced from their homes. 
 
“Half of the country is now dependent on humanitarian aid and millions of people still cannot access life-saving assistance. In some areas disease and starvation are rife. The current situation is unacceptable and defies the basic norms of a civilised world. 
 
“Agreeing a negotiated peace is going to be difficult; however, committing to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches all those in need shouldn’t be. 
 
“As a coalition of some of the world’s largest humanitarian and human rights organisations we call on the international community to stand up for the people of Syria who are enduring the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. 
 
“The reputation of the United Nations and the member states of the Security Council are at risk unless they can show the resolve and responsibility needed to end the crisis and until that time take steps to ensure humanitarian assistance quickly reaches those who need it.”
 
The statement is co-signed by: 
 
Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International 
 
Helene Gayle, CEO, CARE USA 
 
Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch 
 
Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO, Mercy Corps 
 
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International 
 
Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, Save the Children International 
 
Kevin Jenkins, President, World Vision 
 

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