Joint Statement: An appeal to end the suffering in Syria

More than 120 humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies issued a joint appeal on January 21, 2016 urging the world to raise their voices and call for an end to the Syria crisis and to the suffering endured by millions of civilians. The appeal also outlines a series of immediate, practical steps that can improve humanitarian access and the delivery of aid to those in need inside Syria. You are invited to “sign” the appeal simply by liking, sharing, and retweeting it.


syrian children

Three years ago, the leaders of UN humanitarian agencies issued an urgent appeal to those who could end the conflict in Syria. They called for every effort to save the Syrian people. “Enough”, they said, of the suffering and bloodshed.

That was three years ago.

Now, the war is approaching its sixth brutal year. The bloodshed continues. The suffering deepens.

So today, we — leaders of humanitarian organisations and UN agencies — appeal not only to governments but to each of you — citizens around the world — to add your voices in urging an end to the carnage. To urge that all parties reach agreement on a ceasefire and a path to peace.

More than ever before, the world needs to hear a collective public voice calling for an end to this outrage. Because this conflict and its consequences touch us all.

It touches those in Syria who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, who have been uprooted from their homes, or who live in desperation under siege. Today, some 13.5 million people inside Syria need humanitarian assistance. That is not simply a statistic. These are 13.5 million individual human beings whose lives and futures are in jeopardy.

It touches the families who, with few options for a better future, set out on perilous journeys to foreign lands in search of refuge. The war has seen 4.6 million people flee to neighbouring countries and beyond.

It touches a generation of children and young people who — deprived of education and traumatized by the horrors they have experienced — increasingly see their future shaped only by violence.

It touches those far beyond Syria who have seen the violent repercussions of the crisis reach the streets, offices and restaurants closer to their homes.

And it touches all those around the world whose economic wellbeing is affected, in ways visible and invisible, by the conflict.

Those with the ability to stop the suffering can — and therefore should — take action now. Until there is a diplomatic solution to the fighting, such action should include:

  • Unimpeded and sustained access for humanitarian organizations to bring immediate relief to all those in need inside Syria
  • Humanitarian pauses and unconditional, monitored ceasefires to allow food and other urgent assistance to be delivered to civilians, vaccinations and other health campaigns, and for children to return to school
  • A cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure — so that schools and hospitals and water supplies are kept safe
  • Freedom of movement for all civilians and the immediate lifting of all sieges by all parties

These are practical actions. There is no practical reason they could not be implemented if there is the will to do so.

In the name of our shared humanity… for the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much… and for the millions more whose lives and futures hang in the balance, we call for action now.


21 January 2016

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairperson, BRAC, Bangladesh
Zairulshahfuddin bin Zainal Abidin, Country Director, Islamic Relief Malaysia
Ryoko Akamatsu, Chairperson, Japan Committee for UNICEF
Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International
Richard Allen, CEO, Mentor Initiative
Dr. Haytham Alhamwi, Director, Rethink Rebuild
Steen M. Andersen, Executive Director, Danish Committee for UNICEF
Barry Andrews, CEO, GOAL Ireland
Nancy A. Aossey, President and CEO, International Medical Corp
Bernt G. Apeland, Executive Director, Norwegian Committee for UNICEF
Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide
Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, CEO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder and CEO, Karam Foundation
Carmelo Angulo Barturen, President, Spanish Committee for UNICEF
Gudrun Berger, Executive Director, Austrian Committee for UNICEF
Tomaž Bergoč, Executive Director, Slovenian Foundation for UNICEF
David Bull, Executive Director, United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF
Marie-Pierre Caley, CEO, ACTED
Adriano Campolina, Chief Executive, Actionaid
CARE Netherlands
Tineke Ceelen, Director, Stichting Vluchteling, Netherlands
Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization
Jonny Cline, Executive Director, The Israeli Fund for UNICEF
Sarah Costa, Executive Director, Women’s Refugee Commission
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme
Emese Danks, Executive Director, UNICEF Hungarian Committee Foundation
Maryanne Diamond, Chair, International Disability Alliance
Hisham Dirani, CEO, BINAA Organization for Development
Edukans, Netherlands
Jan Egeland, Secretary-General, Norwegian Refugee Council
Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada
Sanem Bilgin Erkurt, Executive Director, Turkish National Committee for UNICEF
Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International
Amy Fong, Chief Executive, Save the Children Hong Kong
Justin Forsyth, CEO, Save the Children UK
Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International
Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance
Global Call to Action against Poverty
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Oxfam Great Britain
Pavla Gomba, Executive Director, Czech Committee for UNICEF
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Madalena Grilo, Executive Director, Portuguese Committee for UNICEF
Noreen Gumbo, Head of Humanitarian Programmes, Trócaire
Handicap International, Belgium
Abdullah Hanoun, CEO, Syrian Community of the South West UK
Heather Hayden, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children New Zealand
Dr. Dirk Hegmanns, Regional Director Turkey/Syria/Iraq, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe
Anne-Marie Helland, General Secretary, Norwegian Church Aid
Anne Hery, Director for Advocacy and Institutional Relations, Handicap International
International Organization for Migration, Netherlands
W. Douglas Jackson, President and CEO, PROJECT C.U.R.E.
Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary General, Care International
Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO, World Vision International
Bergsteinn Jónsson, Executive Director, Icelandic National Committee for UNICEF
Benoit Van Keirsbilck, Director, DEI-Belgique
Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church
Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps
Kerk in Actie, Netherlands Marja-Riitta Ketola, Executive Director, Finnish Committee for UNICEF
Peter Klansoe, Regional Director, Danish Refugee Council, Middle East North Africa region
Pim Kraan, Director, Save the Children Netherlands
Marek Krupiński, Executive Director, Polish National Committee for UNICEF
Dr. Hans Kuenzle, Chair, Swiss Committee for UNICEF
Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
Jane Lau, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF
Lavinia Limón, President and CEO, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Jonas Keiding Lindholm, CEO Save the Children Denmark
Rosa G. Lizarde, Global Director, Feminist Task Force
Olivier Longue, CEO, Accion Contra el Hambre
John Lyon, President, World Hope International
Sébastien Lyon, Executive Director, French Committee for UNICEF
Dominic MacSorley, Chief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide
Dirk Van Maele, Director, Plan België
Cécil Van Maelsaeke, Director, Tearfund, Belgium
Vivien Maidaborn, Executive Director, The New Zealand National Committee for UNICEF
Blanca Palau Mallol, President, Andorran Committee for UNICEF
Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service
Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children USA
David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee
Mr. Juraj Mišura, President, Slovak Committee for UNICEF
James Mitchum, Chief Executive Officer, Heart to Heart International
David Morley, President and CEO, Canadian UNICEF Committee
John Nduna, General Secretary, ACT Alliance Stephen
O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund
Ignacio Packer, Secretary-General, Terre des Hommes International Federation
People in Need
Dato Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, President, Mercy Malaysia
Plan, Norway
Peter Power, Executive Director, UNICEF Ireland
Sarina Prabasi, Chief Executive Officer, WaterAid America
Chris Proulx, President and CEO, LINGOS, United States
Dr. Jihad Qaddour, President, Syria Relief and Development
Red Cross, Netherlands
Curtis N. Rhodes Jr., International Director, Questscope
Michel Roy, Secretary General, Caritas International
Paolo Rozera, Executive Director, Italian Committee for UNICEF
Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO, Plan International USA
Christian Schneider, Executive Director, German Committee for UNICEF
Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J. International Director, Jesuit Refugee Service
Janti Soeripto, Interim CEO, Save the Children, International
SOS Kinderdorpen, Netherlands
Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, United States Fund for UNICEF
Marie Soueid, Policy Counsel, Center for Victims of Torture
John Stewart, President, Australian Committee for UNICEF
Limited Odd Swarting, Chair, Swedish Committee for UNICEF
William L. Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration
Florence Syevuo, Global Call to Action against Poverty, Kenya
Daigo Takagi, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan
Tearfund, UK
Terre des Hommes International Federation
Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director and CEO, International Orthodox Christian Charities
Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches
Monique van ‘t Hek, Director, Plan Nederland
Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace
Pierre Verbeeren, Director, Medecins du Monde, Belgium
Damien Vincent, Executive Director, Belgium Committee for UNICEF
Sandra Visscher, Executive Director, Luxembourg Committee for UNICEF
Vrouwen tegen Uitzetting, Netherlands
Tove Wang, CEO, Save the Children Norway
David A. Weiss, President and CEO, Global Communities
Kathrin Wieland, CEO, Save the Children Germany
Jan Bouke Wijbrandi, Executive Director, Dutch Committee for UNICEF
Nancy E. Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Relief International
Carolyn Woo, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services
Daniel Wordsworth, President and CEO, American Refugee Committee
Samuel A. Worthington, CEO, InterAction
Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Mohammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Chief Executive, AwazCDS and Pakistan Development Alliance