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Syria: Respect us – Protect us

29-10-2013 Statement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to respect the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and to guarantee the safety of aid workers and their unimpeded, immediate access to people in need across Syria. We also call on all those who have an influence on the ground to help us ensure aid can reach those most in need.

  • Because at least 9 million Syrians, half of whom are children, continue to suffer the devastating consequences of an armed conflict that has been tearing the country apart for over two years. The humanitarian tragedy that continues unabated in Syria today is unacceptable. In particular, more must be done to ensure aid reaches the neediest.
  • Because 22 Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers have been killed and many more injured, kidnapped or detained while carrying out their humanitarian duties.
  • Because, to effectively respond to the immense humanitarian needs, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams must be granted safer, quicker and unimpeded access to those in need across the country and at all times. Beyond safe access, increased support is also needed to be able to assist the more than 2.5 million people in dire need each month.
  • Because in Syria, now more than ever, as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement celebrates 150 years of humanitarian action, its Fundamental Principles – in particular humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence – must be fully respected and upheld in order to ensure access to people in need.

More than 100,000 people have reportedly been killed. Hundreds more are dying on a daily basis or struggling with injuries or illnesses, while critical health-care services have been crippled by acute shortages of medical personnel and supplies and by deliberate attacks on health workers and facilities.

In violence-stricken areas, the breakdown of essential services, such as electricity and water supplies and garbage collection, has added to the misery. Many people struggle to make it through the day because of intense fighting and a severely weakened economy, and are completely dependent on the generosity of fellow Syrians and on humanitarian aid.

Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and staff need to have more and safer access to those most in need in Syria. Intentional targeting of aid workers, who play no part in the conflict and who simply seek to help those most in need, is unacceptable. It is essential that the parties to the conflict in Syria protect Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and all other personnel affiliated with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and allow them to work in safety.