WORLD Vision has joined the call for all parties to the Syria conflict to negotiate a peace agreement at Geneva II to end the bloodshed, protect children and allow humanitarian aid to be provided to those desperately in need in the war-torn country.
World Vision Australia’s Head of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Anthea Spinks said that an agreement that ends the conflict and guarantees the protection of children of Syria must be the central outcome of the peace talks.
“The Geneva II peace talks are a critical opportunity for all parties of the Syria conflict to negotiate a peaceful resolution and cease hostilities,” Ms Spink said.
World Vision welcomes Australia’s participation in the peace talks given the leadership it has shown on the UN Security Council in seeking to address humanitarian issues in Syria. We call upon Australia to leverage its standing as a respected international interlocutor to support effective negotiations.
Three years of unrelenting conflict and violence has left more than 9.3 million people desperately in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. “It is critical that all parties allow the safe delivery of humanitarian relief to children and families who are in desperate need within Syria’s borders,” Ms Spinks said.
A report, Children’s Rights, Wronged, released today by World Vision highlights the desperate situation that many children are facing in Syria and neighbouring countries.
“Thousands of children have been killed, millions displaced and many left vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. We call for parties to uphold children’s rights by immediately ceasing all violence, and putting in place measures to protect them,” Ms Spinks said.
More than 100,000 Syrian children are working, often in unsafe conditions, instead of going to school. In some areas of Jordan, nearly half of Syrian families depend on a child for their primary source of income.
Adult Syrians are struggling to find jobs and employers are hiring children for lower rates making them their family breadwinners. Many children are also at risk of forced marriage, prostitution and being recruited into armed groups.
World Vision spoke to one young Syrian child, ‘Saad’, who works with his family. “I am four years old. I make concrete blocks. I hurt here and here,” he said as he pointed to his knees and shoulders. Saad and his family earn US$8 for every 100 concrete blocks they make.
The most effective way to ensure that Saad and other Syrian children are not at risk of ongoing violence, exploitation and abuse is for the parties to the conflict to cease hostilities and reach a peace settlement.
To donate to the Syrian Refugee Crisis Response call 13 32 40 or go to www.worldvision.com.au
Source: World Vision Australia