Minister McHugh launches Concern's 'Shattered Lives' report on 6th anniversary of Syrian crisis
On Wednesday, March 8th, Concern Worldwide, one of Ireland’s valued partners in humanitarian and development assistance, launched a report ahead of March 15th which marks six years since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. The report, entitled Shattered Lives: Protecting civilians in war-torn Syria – a shared responsibility, gives personal accounts of ordinary Syrian men, women, and children whose experiences represent the suffering of millions, and highlights the urgent need for increased protection funding.
13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 6.3 million people – more than the entire population of Ireland – are displaced within Syria. These are the people in greatest need, yet they are increasingly the hardest for humanitarian assistance to reach, due to the intensity and uncertainty of the conflict.
As the report demonstrates, violence permeates every aspect of life in Syria. Seeking to challenge the inevitability of violence, Concern has been implementing protection programmes in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey since 2013. Humanitarian Protection Programming, detailed in the report, aims to improve the safety, well-being and dignity of crisis-affected populations, especially for the most vulnerable – women at risk of SGBV, children, people with disabilities and the elderly.
Minister of State Joe McHugh, T.D., was invited to launch Concern’s report. The Minister has recently returned from a trip to Lebanon and Jordan, where he visited projects run by Irish NGOs, UN and Red Cross & Red Crescent partners, funded by Irish Aid. He also spent time with Syrian refugees living in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan and Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon.
Speaking at the launch, Minister McHugh welcomed the report: “It is particularly poignant for me to be here just days after undertaking my first official visit to Lebanon and Jordan. During my visit, I spoke directly with the Syrian refugees whose experiences you will encounter inside this report – the grandparents, parents, children who have been forced to flee their homes, their communities and their livelihoods because of devastating violence. My time with these communities was deeply impactful. I was struck by their resilience and their capacities to deal with the most challenging and traumatic circumstances in order to achieve safety and security for themselves and their families. I commend Concern’s critical and effective work in Syria and the region which I had the opportunity to visit last week. I particularly commend this report, which provides crucial insights into the lives of Syrian refugees that can inform the ways in which we provide our humanitarian support, and the ways in which we can advocate on their behalf.”
In line with the calls to action highlighted in the report, as the conflict in Syria enters its seventh year, Ireland will continue to advocate for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, for unhindered humanitarian access and respect for international humanitarian law and a priority focus on humanitarian protection.