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Syrian refugee children

In April 2013 displaced Syrian refugee children play among a litter of boxes and trash surrounding tent homes at the Domiz Refugee camp, approximately 12 miles southeast of Dohuk city, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Image: B. Sokol/UNHCR

(WNN/UNR) United Nations, NEW YORK, AMERICAS: A global petition which encourages people across the world to voice outrage at the devastating impact on children of an ongoing civil war in Syria, launched by the UN last February still needs your signature and action.

The appeal has come from UNICEF, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and three international aid agencies as the conflict enters its fourth year.

The agencies are concerned about the long-term consequences of the conflict on what they call “a lost generation” of children in Syria.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming explained to Patrick Maigua why the agencies have launched this appeal and what they hoped to achieve.

LISTEN TO THIS RADIO SHOW NOW:


UNITED NATIONS RADIO


Host/Producer: Patrick Maigua

Featured guest: Melissa Fleming

Series Producer: UN Radio

BACKGROUND:

“As the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic is well into its third year, and the daily headlines focus on military clashes and political efforts to resolve the crisis, the world must not forget the human realities at stake. The risk of losing a generation grows with every day that the situation deteriorates, while the progress made for Syrian children in previous years is undone. UNICEF and its partners are committed to keeping Syrian children from becoming a ‘lost generation’. Critical efforts are being made to minimize the impact of the crisis on children – including in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as in the future of children, through education and child protection,” outlines UNICEF.

The core of UNHCR’s strategy in Syria, considering the insecurity throughout the country, is to employ all possible means to maintain access to and continue life-saving activities for all people of concern.

The long-term presence in Syria by UNHCR is an essential element of its strategy. For IDPs, protection, health, basic domestic items, shelter and cash assistance will be provided as essential humanitarian services as the agency will continue its inter-agency coordination role as the lead in the sectors of NFIs/shelter and protection/community services.

UNHCR’s presence in new field locations throughout the country are being combined with hubs. These are joint inter-agency offices with logistical bases and warehouses, which will allow for the decentralization of NFI stocks, and will ensure better delivery and closer monitoring.

With regard to refugees and asylum-seekers who remain within Syria, UNHCR’s priority for 2014 is to assure their basic protection in a particularly difficult environment where the overall protection space is likely to shrink. The goal is to maintain key humanitarian assistance programs, such as monthly cash assistance addressing fundamental food and shelter needs. Reducing protection risks faced by people of concern, in particular discrimination, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and specific risks faced by children, is also a key focus, along with providing documentation for refugees.

UNHCR’s active resettlement program, although challenged, is a key mechanism for durable solutions, particularly for those in protracted refugee situations in Syria.

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WNN/UN