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Speech by His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon at the opening ofthe International Conference of Donors in Support of the Humanitarian Situation in Syria, Kuwait - 30 January 2013

 


Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Alsalam Alaikom,

We gather here today to offer our support to women, men and children of Syria.

They suffer most, and there are no signs for the ending of their misery. So I decided that to add my voice to that of the Amir of Kuwait , Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Sabah, to hold this pledging conference.

I express my thanks to his Highness and to Kuwait’s government for hosting this conference. His Highness has just announced his donation of 300 million dollars, and I express my deep appreciation to His Highness for his extreme generosity. I hope that you may all find what inspires you in this wonderful example of international solidarity.

I express as well my sincere gratitude to the governments and peoples of the Gulf region- The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- and to all governments and other regional organizations represented in this conference.

I especially thank the governments and peoples of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq for hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and supporting them.

And I pay tribute to all non-governmental organizations and to the heroic work undertaken by them.

The Red Cross movement and the Red Crescent are carriagously distributing aids to the people in all regions of the country.

Non-governmental organizations working in Syria are represented in this conference by the organization of (Premier Urgence), Danish Refugee Council and the International Medical Corps. They are also represented by the Agency of Technical Cooperation and Development and the International Rescue Committee which support Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.

Let me express my deep gratitude to relief agencies and charitable organizations that transport humanitarian assistance urgently to Syria. And I salute women and men who run these operations under these difficult circumstances.

Many workers in the field of humanitarian assistance have been killed in Syria, including eight employees in the humanitarian agencies of the United Nations and eight employees of the organization of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. We pay tribute to their memory today. There are currently seventeen employee of the United Nations in custody. And I call for their immediate release.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The situation in Syria is catastrophic and is getting worse day by day.

During the last twenty-two months not less than 60,000 people were killed, and I feel pain when I wonder how many more lives will be claimed if this current situation continues.

There are four million people in need of immediate assistance, as 10 percent of Syrian people have abandoned their homes within Syria, and more than 700,000 people left Syria.

There are about two million children in need of humanitarian assistance.

Everyday Syrians face a series of terrors represented in devastating violence, dwindling supplies of food, medicine and others, and human rights abuses, including sexual violence and random arrest.

The use of heavy weapons in populated areas led to the destruction of entire civil communities and neighborhoods. Damages have affected about half of the operating public hospitals and quarter of total schools.

Food prices are increasing and the infrastructure for water and electricity production is exposed to a systematic destruction.

For several years Syria was known for its generous support to those in need. Till recently Syria was the third largest host of refugees including more than 500 000 Palestinian refugees and 63000 Iraqi refugees who now face the greatest risk of homelessness again.

Last month when I visited Zaatari Camp in Jordan and Islaheya Camp in Turkey I saw some of the effects of this crisis. A lot of the refugees lost loved ones of their families, while others witnessed the destruction of their houses. I met kids all what they want is going back home, going to their schools again, playing with friends, and live their normal life, kids not over five or six and I told them that the United Nation and the whole world stands by their side. Today we have to keep that promise.

Providing humanitarian assistance cannot end this tragedy and will not put an end to the bloodshed and suffering. We need a political solution, and the need for such a solution becomes more urgent day by day.

I appeal to all parties, especially the government of Syria to stop the killings, and call in the name of humanity to stop the violence.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

While we are seeking to find a political settlement, we must do everything possible now to help our fellow human beings who are suffering and dying in front of our eyes. We must relief their stresses, revive the flame of hope they have and help them survive in these dark days till they are able to return to their homes and build a brighter future in Syria.

The humanitarian agencies of the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations are working along with our partners in the field to deliver aid to those in need.

We are working with the government and the opposition on delivering aid to the largest possible number of people in all regions of the country despite the hostilities and many other obstacles.

Every month World Food Program aid and Co. reach one and a half million people.

Humanitarian Agencies provide supplies such as blankets and beds to more than 400000 individuals.

More than one million children were immunized against Polio and another million against measles. The United Nations provides it's educational and social services to children traumatized by the violence, provides clean water and health supplies, and helps farmers to plant their crops.

Recently, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has distributed cash assistance and relief help of more than 100 000 Palestinian refugees in the Near East.

But it's not enough, because in winter living conditions are hard with huge needs.

Syrians fleeing violence are in urgent need of food, blankets and warm clothing, heating fuel and medical service for survival.

Therefore, we request the provision of $1.5 billion to finance the operation of our response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria over the next six months, focusing on inside-Syria needs and the needs of refugees. This amount is considered the highest amount requested in a short term.

We need your urgent help,

I understand exactly what pressure every government face today, but no way for us to let financial constraints prevents aid to save the lives of people in urgent need. We cannot achieve the accomplishments without resources, and without the provision of these resources certainly more people will die. And this state of emergency requires us to exert maximum efforts.

All of the governmental and nongovernmental organizations, individuals and the private sectors have a specific role to play.

I am sure that by this evening you will have made pledges to help Syrians face the coming weeks and months with more confidence and more hope.

We must do more and do it now; we don’t want to disappoint the Syrian people.

Thank you,

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