Tuesday March 31, 2015

Islamic Relief urges UK government to continue aid to Syria at Kuwaiti conference

Islamic Relief’s CEO, Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey, has joined over 20 charity chiefs in urging the UK Government to continue to respond generously to the huge humanitarian needs of the Syrian people – and to press other aid donors to do the same at an important pledging conference in Kuwait City today (March 31).

 

In a letter to the Guardian newspaper ahead of the International Pledging Conference for Syria, Dr Ashmawey and 21 other chief executives of aid agencies and human rights organisations highlighted the devastating impact of the Syrian conflict and the vital importance of supporting the latest UN appeal.

 

“On Tuesday world leaders will meet in Kuwait, where the UN will request their support to fund the £5.6bn required to keep millions of people alive. This amount, to be shared among all nations, is barely more than Sky Sports spends on the rights to broadcast Premiership matches.

Providing humanitarian assistance to Syria’s beleaguered people is no panacea – that requires a political solution – but it is a vital lifeline for millions of people left in the dark. In Kuwait, the British government must continue to pay, and urge others to commit to pay, their fair share in order turn the lights back on in Syria.”

 

The Kuwaiti International Pledging Conference for Syria, now in its third year, is a major United Nations conference aiming to gather aid for Syrians. This year, the UN has made an appeal to raise £5.6 billion as experts warn of a “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding in the war-torn country, with last year being the worst since the conflict began. The UN special envoy for humanitarian affairs warned that “failing to meet the required funds” would end in a “horrifying…catastrophe.”

 

The UK government has been generous in its financial commitment to Syria, having given a total of £800 million to support Syrians inside Syria, and refugees in neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. But the UK contribution in offering sanctuary in the UK to some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees has been disappointing. The UK has only settled 143 Syrian refugees, which is a tiny number compared to the scale of the need. The UK’s financial commitment to the humanitarian response has been larger than any other, but aid agencies want to see a more generous response to receiving refugees ourselves as other governments are doing.

 

Beautiful satellite images have showed that 83% of the lights in Syria have gone out since conflict began in 2011. We have now entered the 5th year of devastating conflict and human loss, so join us in calling on world leaders to do more to turn the lights back on. Watch this moving video from the #WithSyria coalition, and sign this petition encouraging world leaders to do more.

 

We have been working in areas of conflict for decades, providing vital humanitarian assistance to those whose lives have been torn apart. In Syria, we have provided support to over 2 million Syrians, and supported hundreds of thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries. Donate to our Global Emergencies Fund today so this important work can continue.

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