Syria: Most daunting humanitarian crisis facing the world

syrian children refugeesThe mounting civilian casualties in Syria and the displacement of over six million Syrians – with prospects of both more casualties and more displacement – make this the most daunting humanitarian crisis facing the world today. The humanitarian crisis has implications not only for Syrian civilians, but also for the course of the conflict, governments in and beyond the region, the international humanitarian system and, indeed, for global governance.

This policy brief examines the various dimensions of the Syrian humanitarian crisis. Following a brief description of the evolution of the crisis, analysis turns to the humanitarian situation inside Syria and beyond Syria’s borders and the political implications of the massive arrival of refugees for the host governments. The brief then draws out common themes from this analysis and offers a series of recommendations for key stakeholders.

The particular challenge of protecting and assisting people inside Syria

All parties to the armed conflict should comply with the basic principles of international humanitarian law and uphold basic, internationally-recognized human rights.

The UN Security Council should develop strongly-worded resolutions to support the necessary access for humanitarian assistance operations inside Syria including expanding cross-border operations and supporting the use of humanitarian ‘corridors’ and humanitarian ‘pauses’ to enable aid to be delivered to those in need.

If the Security Council is unable to act on the issue of humanitarian access, the UN General Assembly should take a more active role.

Syrian IDP  till sept 2013

Humanitarian Assistance to displaced persons and affected communities:

International agencies must continue to affirm the humanitarian and non-political nature of assistance.

Assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) should be improved and increased, particularly for those living outside of camps.

Governments, international agencies and civil society groups should prioritize education and gender-sensitive programming that have long-term implications for the future of the region.

Governments should be supported to preserve asylum space in the region, including through assistance to affected communities.

Creation of a Regional Crisis

Governments in the region – those of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt – initially responded with generosity and solidarity to the arrival of refugees on their borders. Although all of the governments have imposed restrictions on entry of one kind or another, they deserve recognition and appreciation for their policies of openness and welcome to refugees. Governments hosting the region’s two million registered refugees need support to defray some of the costs they have born in allowing the refugees to enter and in providing for at least some of their basic necessities. As we discuss in this policy brief, the presence of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries incurs not only financial costs, but also presents political dilemmas for the host governments, particularly in their relationships with other countries in the region and in addressing the ethnic and sectarian balance in their own countries.

Syrian Refugee till sept 2013

 

Planning for Protracted Displacement

Plans need to be made now for the likelihood that displacement will be protracted

Development actors, including international agencies, bilateral aid agencies and regional bodies should become fully engaged in addressing both the present needs of the displaced and the communities which host them and in seeking solutions.

Discussions should begin now about the eventual establishment of an international mechanism to support solutions for displacement in and from Syria.

Conclusion

Given the lack of political solutions in the immediate future, serious efforts need to be made to look beyond the daunting challenges of responding to the needs of the over six million displaced persons and to consider steps that can be taken now to support refugees and IDPs to find solutions in the future.

By: Elizabeth FerrisKemal Kirişci and Salman Shaikh

Brookings.Edu

  • nagy_michael2

    So when Lebanon faced the Israelis and Syrians for 50 years that caused us mass exodus and still reeling for a long war.. wasn’t that daunting and major issues to tackle? or was it okay with everyone that Israel bombarded Lebanon in the South and Beirut and Syria its sister in arms killed everyone else on the ground with the exception of Amal and Hezbollah.. was that humanitarian crisis that needed to pay attention to? or just because of chemical weapons suddenly the Syrian crisis needed attention? the world is full of hypocrites and sitting on top of them Obama, Russia and the arab leaders..

    • 5thDrawer

      Maybe, Nagy, The Lebanese are the same as Israelis …. everyone hates them.
      They are too good at doing business. 😉

  • nagy_michael2

    So when Lebanon faced the Israelis and Syrians for 50 years that caused us mass exodus and still reeling for a long war.. wasn’t that daunting and major issues to tackle? or was it okay with everyone that Israel bombarded Lebanon in the South and Beirut and Syria its sister in arms killed everyone else on the ground with the exception of Amal and Hezbollah.. was that humanitarian crisis that needed to pay attention to? or just because of chemical weapons suddenly the Syrian crisis needed attention? the world is full of hypocrites and sitting on top of them Obama, Russia and the arab leaders..

    • 5thDrawer

      Maybe, Nagy, The Lebanese are the same as Israelis …. everyone hates them. 😉