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Syria cessation of hostilities welcome: humanitarian aid desperately needed

16 September - 100 organisations including Christian Aid have jointly welcomed the cessation of hostilities negotiated by the US and Russia this week, and have demanded that the US and Russia use their influence to ensure full and unhindered humanitarian access throughout Syria.

In a joint statement, the Syrian, regional and international humanitarian and human rights organisations say:


This week’s cessation of hostilities agreement negotiated by Russia and the US could be an important and welcome step forward for the future of Syria. Countless lives are saved each day this cessation holds.

Now that Russia and the US have brought about a significant reduction in violence and a cessation of airstrikes, they must use their influence over the Syrian government, non-state armed groups and other parties to the conflict to ensure full and unhindered humanitarian access across the country.

Besieged areas like eastern Aleppo, where 275,000 people are trapped and desperate for food, fuel and medical supplies, and Madaya, where there has been an outbreak of meningitis, should be prioritized.

Sporadic and temporary cessations of violence cannot become ends in themselves. The success of this agreement should not be measured just by a reduction in fighting.

It needs to be accompanied by unfettered and sustained humanitarian access throughout Syria; an end to the forced displacement of communities as seen recently in Darayya; and a political process that addresses the root causes of the crisis.

Russia and the United States have proved for the second time that they have the power to silence the weapons in Syria. The lives of innocent Syrian civilians are in their hands.

The brutal conflict and unlawful targeting of civilians and civilian structures such as hospitals, schools and markets cannot be allowed to recommence.

This cessation of hostilities agreement may provide a rare opportunity to move towards a negotiated political solution to Syria’s devastating conflict. We call on Russia and the United States to ensure that this opportunity is not wasted.

The US and Russia’s counterparts in the International Syria Support Group must also stand up to their responsibilities to use their influence to encourage all parties to the conflict to respect the cessation, to monitor and report violations of the cessation, and to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

Signed:

1. 11.11.11
2. Abrar Halap Association for Relief and Development
3. Action Contre la Faim
4. Ahl Horan
5. Al Seeraj For Development And Healthcare
6. Alkawakibi Human Rights Organization
7. American Relief Coalition for Syria
8. Amrha
9. Andalus Institute for Tolerance & Anti-Violence Studies
10. Arab Center for the Promotion of Human Rights
11. Arab Coalition for Sudan
12. Arab Foundation for Civil Society
13. Arab Organisation for Human Rights - Mauritania
14. Arab program for human rights activists (APHRA)
15. Association de Soutien aux Médias Libres
16. Attaa for Relief and Development (ARD)
17. Balad Syria Organization
18. Bihar Relief Organization
19. Bonyan
20. Bridge of Peace
21. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
22. CAFOD
23. CARE Internationa
24. CCFD - Terre Solidaire
25. Christian Aid
26. Concern Worldwide
27. Council for Arab-British Understanding
28. Damascene House Foundation for Society Development
29. Deir Elzzor United Association (FURAT)
30. Doctors of the World UK
31. Education Without Borders (MIDAD)
32. Emaar AL Sham Humanitarian Association
33. Enjaz Development Foundation
34. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor- Geneva
35. Fraternity Foundation For Human Rights
36. Ghiath Matar Foundation
37. Ghiras Al Nahda
38. Ghiras Foundation
39. Ghiras Syria
40. Global Call to Action Against Poverty
41. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
42. Handicap International
43. Help 4 Syria
44. Human Appeal
45. Humanitarian Relief Association (IYD)
46. Ihsan Relief and Development
47. Insan for Psychosocial Support
48. International Humanitarian Relief
49. International Supporting Woman Association (ISWA)
50. International Rescue Committee
51. Irtiqaa Foundation
52. Islamic Relief
53. Just Foreign Policy, US
54. Karam Foundation, NFP
55. Local Development and Small-Projects Support (LDSPS)
56. Maram Foundation for Relief & Development
57. Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Preventing of Armed Conflict
58. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
59. Mountain Foundation
60. Najda Now
61. Nasaem Khair
62. Nuon Organization for Peacebuilding
63. Orient for Human Relief
64. Oxfam
65. Pax Christi International
66. Permanent Peace Movement
67. Qitaf Al Khair Relief Association
68. Rethink Rebuild Society
69. Saed Charity Association
70. Save A Soul
71. Save the Children
72. Sedra Association for Charity
73. Shama Association
74. Snabel Al Khyr
75. Society for Threatened Peoples
76. Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
77. Syria Charity
78. Syria Network for Human Rights
79. Syria Relief
80. Syria Relief and Development
81. Syria Relief Organization
82. Syrian American Medical Society
83. Syrian Education Commission (SEC)
84. Syrian Network for Human Rights
85. Syrian Engineers for Construction and Development Organization (SECD)
86. Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA)
87. Syrian Medical Mission
88. Syrian Orphans Organization
89. Takaful Al Sham Charity Organization
90. The Centre for Victims of Torture
91. The Syrian Establishment for Human Care & Enhancement (MASRRAT)
92. Tuba Dernegi
93. Unified Revolutionary Medical Bureau in East Gouta
94. Union of Relief and Medical Care Organizations (UOSSM)
95. Union of Syrians Abroad
96. Violations Documentation Center in Syria
97. Vision GRAM-International
98. White Hands - Beyazeller
99. World Vision
100. Zain Foundation

Ends

For more information please contact Jo Rogers: jrogers@christian-aid.org

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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