Ministers Flanagan and Sherlock mark fourth anniversary of the Syrian conflict15 March 2015
Ministers Flanagan and Sherlock mark fourth anniversary of the Syrian conflict
Ireland has provided almost €31 million to assist the people of Syria since 2011
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, and the Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today marked the fourth anniversary of the Syrian conflict.
Minister Flanagan spoke of the devastating impact of the war on Syria’s people, particularly children:
“The popular uprising of 15 March 2011, which called for an end to the corruption of the Assad regime, was met with extreme brutality. The subsequent conflict has caused the deaths of over 200,000 Syrians, the flight of almost 4 million refugees to neighbouring countries, and the displacement of more than 7.5 million people within Syria.
“Over half of those who have had to leave their homes are children, many of them deeply traumatised by what they have witnessed. Life expectancy in Syria has collapsed by 24 years since the beginning of the conflict, a testimony to the horrific hardship and suffering borne by the Syrian population.”
Ireland has provided almost €31 million to assist the people of Syria since 2011, Minister Flanagan said.
“Ireland stands with its international partners in supporting a political solution based on the principles of the 2012 Geneva communiqué: the ending of violence, the formation of an inclusive transitional governing body with executive powers, and a new constitutional process for a democratic Syria which preserves Syria’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious character.
“I also reiterate Ireland’s condemnation of the multiple war crimes inflicted on the Syrian people by the parties to the conflict and call on the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
“We will also work to implement measures to address the crisis of terrorism and violent extremism, which threaten the peoples and countries of the Middle East, as well as posing a threat to the safety of Europeans. We stand with all victims of violent and extremist ideology and are determined to counter these threats while working to strengthen the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“I remain committed to working on behalf of the Irish people to bring the agony of the Syrian people to a close.”
Addressing the enormous humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict, Minister Sherlock said:
“Ireland has already provided almost €31 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria since 2011, delivered through trusted NGO partners, UN agencies and the Red Cross. This funding has supported a range of emergency needs, including food, water and sanitation, and shelter and protection.
“Humanitarian access inside Syria continues to be hampered by regime restrictions on aid agencies, the fragmentation of the armed opposition and the intensity of the conflict and I call for safe and unhindered humanitarian access.
“In view of the immense needs in Syria and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees, Ireland will continue to provide humanitarian assistance in response to this crisis – indeed, we have provided €1.8 million to support the work of UN agencies already this year, the majority of it directed at supporting the needs of children.
“I will attend a Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait at the end of March, and will set out then how Ireland intends to support the Syrian people in 2015, including pledging Irish funding."
15 March 2015