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NGOs welcome Brussels Syria Conference as 'urgent and vital opportunity'

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Action Against Hunger
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The undersigned international and national NGOs and respective NGO coordination fora welcome the fact that the international community, under the impetus of the EU, is convening in Brussels to address and respond to the Syria crisis.

The conference is an urgent and vital opportunity for states to: reiterate their commitments to upholding the right for civilians fleeing Syria to seek asylum and international protection; ensure Syrians can access assistance throughout the country; reiterate the need to protect Syrian humanitarian workers and their operations; fulfill and build upon commitments made at the London Conference in 2016; and support sectors which have been particularly damaged by the conflict.

Today more than ever, the international community must share responsibility and stand firmly in support of Syria’s civilian population. It is clear however that the aid response, as vital as it is, will only go so far and cannot fully address the needs of Syrian communities to be free from violence and the violations of international human rights (IHRL) and humanitarian law (IHL) that characterize the conflict. To this end, we call on all members of the international community, in particular permanent members of the UN Security Council and the EU and EU member states who are discussing post-agreement planning, to insist on the full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Syria that relate to respect for IHL and IHRL, as well as implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 2012.

The Brussels conference should also set the foundation for inclusive and meaningful participation of Syrian NGOs and civil society, including youth and women’s groups, as key partners in ensuring effective post-agreement planning that captures the needs and desires of the people of Syria and supports local community rebuilding and resilience.