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G20 must step up for Syria, Iraq

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G20 must not neglect displaced Syrian, Iraqi families bracing for harsh winter, says World Vision

MISSISSAUGA, ON (November 13, 2014) — As the G20 meets this weekend in Brisbane, humanitarian and development agency World Vision Canada is urging leaders not to ignore the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crises, especially with temperatures starting to drop and heavy rains wreaking havoc for families living without adequate shelter. 

Quotes from Martin Fischer, Director of Policy, World Vision Canada:
“As G20 leaders discuss international security and the situation in Syria and Iraq, we urge them not to let ongoing conflict consume the lives of millions of children. In both Syria and Iraq reports of widespread violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law, including inhuman treatment of children, continue. Executions and forced child recruitment are widespread, and children have witnessed atrocities and horrific violence. All require immediate and longer-term support to meet urgent humanitarian needs and overcome distress. 

“In the immediate term, the international community must urgently address gaps in life-saving humanitarian aid to protect children, particularly as winter quickly approaches. Displaced children are living in open air settlements, unfinished structures and construction sites without adequate security, clothing and supplies, exposing them to high levels of protection risks. Addressing these and other needs requires a well-coordinated international response. 

“The conflicts in Syria and Iraq demand a durable political solution. Addressing the immediate and long term needs of children affected by the crisis requires G20 leaders to expend political capital towards urgently finding a negotiated solution to the crisis." 


  • An estimated 10.8 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, almost half of them children. 
  • 6.45 million people are internally displaced within Syria. 
  • 3.1 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, including 220,000 into Iraq.
  • 1.9 million people are internally displaced within Iraq. 
  • In Iraq alone, nearly 1.3 million people will need shelter and 2.8 million people will need food assistance this winter. More than 600,000 people in Iraq are in need of immediate winterization assistance, such as blankets, carpets, tarps.

For interviews with World Vision spokespersons in Canada or Brisbane, please contact: 
Britt Hamilton – mobile: 416-419-1321, 

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at