International Committee of the Red Cross

Internally displaced people must be protected from the effects of war

News release 21 September 2017

(New York) – At a UN General Assembly High-Level event on Syria, ICRC President Peter Maurer urged for the protection of Syrian civilians trapped by violence and internally displaced by conflict. The event "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region" was hosted by High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini of the European Commission.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to how hostilities have been conducted. International humanitarian law has been flouted on countless occasions," Mr. Maurer stated in his remarks. "In the cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, rural Hama and Idleb, as conflict continues, parties must respect and protect civilians trapped by the violence. Inhabitants must be spared, and allowed free and safe passage if they want to leave. And, of course, this principle applies throughout Syria."

In Syria 13.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and protection. In the last 12 months there were 1 million new internal displacements. Half of Syrians are displaced.

"Internally displaced people must be protected as much as possible from the effects of war," Mr. Maurer said. "They must have adequate shelter, hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and everything must be done to ensure that families are not separated."

ICRC has operated in Syria since the start of the conflict and works alongside the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). For the first time in 4 years, ICRC together with SARC, visited Raqqa governorate in the Northeast of the country end of July.

"The fighting and the suffering in Syria will continue for some time yet," Mr. Maurer concluded. "Our guiding light must be the welfare and the recovery of a people devastated by conflict. Keep their interests central, and there is hope for a better future."

Read full remarks: https://www.icrc.org/en/document/supporting-future-syria-and-region-icrc-statement-un-general-assembly-high-level-event

For further information, please contact:
Diana Santana, ICRC New York, tel: +1 917-455-9035
Matt Clancy, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 574 15 54