Statement from Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer
PORTLAND, ORE. – In these nearly six years of war Mercy Corps has helped millions of Syrians, both in their country and as refugees in foreign lands. Our team members and partners have sought out the most vulnerable men, women and children, and endeavored to meet their most urgent needs. As the years passed we have seen the number of people who need our help grow exponentially.
There is one constant message we hear from the Syrians with whom we speak: Make the bombing stop. Silence the guns. Stop the shelling. Let my family find safety and peace.
It is my sincerest hope that the people of Syria will finally see some of that peace in the talks taking place this week in Astana.
We know that another cease-fire alone will not solve the challenges that Syria now faces. It will not rebuild schools or water pipes; it will not bake bread for the hungry; and it will not give jobs to those who need them. That is why we are calling for more than an extension to the current cease-fire. Any peace agreement must provide for the sustained and unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid to all who need it.
All aid organizations and all aid workers must be allowed to operate freely and safely to do their lifesaving and essential work. An estimated 13.5 million people in Syria need assistance. War has demolished the country’s infrastructure – hospitals, schools, roads, water facilities. The task ahead is too big for any one organization alone. It will take all of us and most importantly all of the brave Syrian aid workers who have quietly helped their neighbors over these dangerous years.
Any peace agreement must treat Syria’s citizens equally and guarantee their basic rights – including legal protections for those civilians who have been delivering humanitarian assistance all over the country.
We urge the parties meeting in Astana to craft an agreement that will ensure safety for all and peace for Syria – and a peace that allows all Syrians access to the help they need to rebuild their lives and their communities.
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