Children’s lives at stake unless Syria Crisis funding ‘shifts up a gear’

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Two million children are out of school inside Syria alone
Syrian family outside tented settlement in West Bekaa, Lebanon. Photo/World Vision
(February 03, 2016)
World leaders gathering in London, England this week (4th February) must make a realistic and robust funding pledge for families who have fled the Syria conflict, and there must be serious commitments made to ensure humanitarian access for the millions of people still in need inside Syria, children’s charity World Vision said today. 
“Attacks on civilians, schools and hospitals abound in Syria and access restrictions remain a tactic of war despite UN Security Council Resolutions. The funding shortfall also means that refugees face increasing hardship in countries surrounding Syria. Access to legal stay and employment is limited and poverty rates are rising to unprecedented levels,” said Fran Charles, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Advocacy Director. 
Families inside Syria and in neighbouring countries are making difficult decisions just to help their families survive, including withdrawing children from school, sending them to work and entering them into early marriage. 
There are over two million children out of school inside Syria alone with large numbers also out of school in neighbouring countries. A commitment of at least US $1.4 billion dollars annually for education is needed otherwise we face the very real possibility of a lost generation of Syrian children. 
World Vision works with displaced people inside Syria and Iraq, affected populations in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and along the route in Eastern Europe where families are arriving with young children in winter conditions. 
Michael Messenger, president, World Vision Canada , said: 
“Canada has been a generous humanitarian donor, most recently with an extended match period for donations to the crisis. Yet the global appeal is still short of its target. I encourage the Government of Canada to expand its response by working in partnership with Canadian humanitarian organizations. Additional funding that is flexible and focuses on long term needs is the only real way to address the protracted nature of the crisis.  Too many families have already run out of options and are resorting to dangerous coping strategies, such as child labour and early marriage.”
“As a foreign policy priority, the Canadian government should fully support the global peace effort. First and foremost, Canada can urge all sides in the conflict to allow immediate, unhindered humanitarian access. Another critical step for Canada is to back the UN’s special envoy in negotiations to achieve a political solution to the crisis. A lasting, inclusive, peaceful resolution is the only way for Syrian children to have a real, sustainable future.” 
Conny Lenneberg, World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe, said: 
“Peace in Syria in the only true solution – but while talks are ongoing, political leaders must wake up to the reality of millions of Syrians blocked from receiving aid and refugees languishing in neighbouring countries facing an utterly desperate situation which is only getting worse. All parties to the conflict are committing grave violations against children with a complete disregard for international humanitarian law.”
“Many families are facing such dire conditions, eking out an existence in a flimsy tent or tin shelter, that they’re making the bold but life-threatening decision to trek to Europe in search of stability – and, frankly, some dignity. Sadly, it rarely works out that way.”