An appeal to end the suffering in Syria

Published: Jan 25, 2016 Reading time: 8 minutes
An appeal to end the suffering in Syria
© Foto: PIN Archive

Three years ago, the leaders of UN humanitarian agencies issued an urgent appeal to those who could end the conflict in Syria. They called for every effort to save the Syrian people. “Enough”, they said, of the suffering and bloodshed. That was three years ago. Now, the war is approaching its sixth brutal year. The bloodshed continues. The suffering deepens.

So today, we – leaders of humanitarian organisations and UN agencies - appeal not only to governments but to each of you - citizens around the world – to add your voices in urging an end to the carnage. To urge that all parties reach agreement on a ceasefire and a path to peace.

More than ever before, the world needs to hear a collective public voice calling for an end to this outrage. Because this conflict and its consequences touch us all.


It touches those in Syria who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, who have been uprooted from their homes, or who live in desperation under siege. Today, some 13.5 million people inside Syria need humanitarian assistance. That is not simply a statistic. These are 13.5 million individual human beings whose lives and futures are in jeopardy.

It touches the families who, with few options for a better future, set out on perilous journeys to foreign lands in search of refuge. The war has seen 4.6 million people flee to neighbouring countries and beyond.

It touches a generation of children and young people who – deprived of education and traumatized by the horrors they have experienced – increasingly see their future shaped only by violence.

It touches those far beyond Syria who have seen the violent repercussions of the crisis reach the streets, offices and restaurants closer to their homes.

And it touches all those around the world whose economic wellbeing is affected, in ways visible and invisible, by the conflict.

Those with the ability to stop the suffering can - and therefore should - take action now. Until there is a diplomatic solution to the fighting, such action should include:

  • Unimpeded and sustained access for humanitarian organizations to bring immediate relief to all those in need inside Syria
  • Humanitarian pauses and unconditional, monitored ceasefires to allow food and other urgent assistance to be delivered to civilians, vaccinations and other health campaigns, and for children to return to school
  • A cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure – so that schools and hospitals and water supplies are kept safe
  • Freedom of movement for all civilians and the immediate lifting of all sieges by all parties         

These are practical actions. There is no practical reason they could not be implemented if there is the will to do so.

In the name of our shared humanity… for the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much… and for the millions more whose lives and futures hang in the balance, we call for action now.



21 January 2016

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairperson, BRAC, Bangladesh

Zairulshahfuddin bin Zainal Abidin, Country Director, Islamic Relief Malaysia

Ryoko Akamatsu, Chairperson, Japan Committee for UNICEF

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International

Richard Allen, CEO, Mentor Initiative

Dr. Haytham Alhamwi, Director, Rethink Rebuild

Steen M. Andersen, Executive Director, Danish Committee for UNICEF

Barry Andrews, CEO, GOAL Ireland

Nancy A. Aossey, President and CEO, International Medical Corp

Bernt G. Apeland, Executive Director, Norwegian Committee for UNICEF

Dr. Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, CEO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder and CEO, Karam Foundation

Carmelo Angulo Barturen, President, Spanish Committee for UNICEF

Ileana Bello, Executive Director, Defence for Children International

Gudrun Berger, Executive Director, Austrian Committee for UNICEF

Tomaž Bergoč, Executive Director, Slovenian Foundation for UNICEF

David Bull, Executive Director, United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF

Marie-Pierre Caley, CEO, ACTED

Adriano Campolina, Chief Executive, Actionaid

CARE Netherlands

Tineke Ceelen, Director, Stichting Vluchteling, Netherlands

Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

Jonny Cline, Executive Director, The Israeli Fund for UNICEF

Sarah Costa, Executive Director, Women’s Refugee Commission

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme

Emese Danks, Executive Director, UNICEF Hungarian Committee Foundation

Maryanne Diamond, Chair, International Disability Alliance

Hisham Dirani, CEO, BINAA Organization for Development

Edukans, Netherlands

Jan Egeland, Secretary-General, Norwegian Refugee Council

Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada

Sanem Bilgin Erkurt, Executive Director, Turkish National Committee for UNICEF

Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International

Amy Fong, Chief Executive, Save the Children Hong Kong

Justin Forsyth, CEO, Save the Children UK

Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International

Meg Gardinier, Secretary General, ChildFund Alliance

Global Call to Action against Poverty

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Oxfam Great Britain

Pavla Gomba, Executive Director, Czech Committee for UNICEF

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Madalena Grilo, Executive Director, Portuguese Committee for UNICEF

Noreen Gumbo, Head of Humanitarian Programmes, Trócaire

Handicap International, Belgium

Abdullah Hanoun, CEO, Syrian Community of the South West UK

Heather Hayden, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children New Zealand

Dr. Dirk Hegmanns, Regional Director Turkey/Syria/Iraq, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

Anne-Marie Helland, General Secretary, Norwegian Church Aid

Anne Hery, Director for Advocacy and Institutional Relations, Handicap International

International Organization for Migration, Netherlands

W. Douglas Jackson, President and CEO, PROJECT C.U.R.E.

Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary General, Care International

Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO, World Vision International

Bergsteinn Jónsson, Executive Director, Icelandic National Committee for UNICEF

Benoit Van Keirsbilck, Director, DEI-Belgique

Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church

Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps

Kerk in Actie, Netherlands

Marja-Riitta Ketola, Executive Director, Finnish Committee for UNICEF

Peter Klansoe, Regional Director, Danish Refugee Council, Middle East North Africa region

Pim Kraan, Director, Save the Children Netherlands

Marek Krupiński, Executive Director, Polish National Committee for UNICEF

Dr. Hans Kuenzle, Chair, Swiss Committee for UNICEF

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

Jane Lau, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF

Lavinia Limón, President and CEO, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Jonas Keiding Lindholm, CEO Save the Children Denmark

Rosa G. Lizarde, Global Director, Feminist Task Force

Olivier Longue, CEO, Accion Contra el Hambre

John Lyon, President, World Hope International

Sébastien Lyon, Executive Director, French Committee for UNICEF

Dominic MacSorley, Chief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide

Dirk Van Maele, Director, Plan België

Cécil Van Maelsaeke, Director, Tearfund, Belgium

Vivien Maidaborn, Executive Director, The New Zealand National Committee for UNICEF

Blanca Palau Mallol, President, Andorran Committee for UNICEF

Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service

Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children USA

David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee

Mr. Juraj Mišura, President, Slovak Committee for UNICEF

James Mitchum, Chief Executive Officer, Heart to Heart International

David Morley, President and CEO, Canadian UNICEF Committee

John Nduna, General Secretary, ACT Alliance

Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund

Ignacio Packer, Secretary-General, Terre des Hommes International Federation

People in Need

Dato Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, President, Mercy Malaysia

Plan, Norway

Peter Power, Executive Director, UNICEF Ireland

Sarina Prabasi, Chief Executive Officer, WaterAid America

Chris Proulx, President and CEO, LINGOS, United States

Dr. Jihad Qaddour, President, Syria Relief and Development

Red Cross, Netherlands

Curtis N. Rhodes Jr., International Director, Questscope

Michel Roy, Secretary General, Caritas International

Paolo Rozera, Executive Director, Italian Committee for UNICEF

Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO, Plan International USA

Christian Schneider, Executive Director, German Committee for UNICEF

Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, S.J. International Director, Jesuit Refugee Service

Janti Soeripto, Interim CEO, Save the Children, International

SOS Kinderdorpen, Netherlands

Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO, United States Fund for UNICEF

Marie Soueid, Policy Counsel, Center for Victims of Torture

John Stewart, President, Australian Committee for UNICEF Limited

Odd Swarting, Chair, Swedish Committee for UNICEF

William L. Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration

Florence Syevuo, Global Call to Action against Poverty, Kenya

Daigo Takagi, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan

Tearfund, UK

Terre des Hommes International Federation

Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director and CEO, International Orthodox Christian Charities

Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches

Monique van ‘t Hek, Director, Plan Nederland

Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace

Pierre Verbeeren, Director, Medecins du Monde, Belgium

Damien Vincent, Executive Director, Belgium Committee for UNICEF

Sandra Visscher, Executive Director, Luxembourg Committee for UNICEF

Vrouwen tegen Uitzetting, Netherlands

Tove Wang, CEO, Save the Children Norway

David A. Weiss, President and CEO, Global Communities

Kathrin Wieland, CEO, Save the Children Germany

Jan Bouke Wijbrandi, Executive Director, Dutch Committee for UNICEF

Nancy E. Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Relief International

Carolyn Woo, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

Daniel Wordsworth, President and CEO, American Refugee Committee

Samuel A. Worthington, CEO, InterAction

Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Mohammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Chief Executive, AwazCDS and Pakistan Development Alliance


UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi,

Ester Neltrup, President, Planet Aid'

SOS Children’s Villages International

Ezio Castelli, President, AVSI USA

Vrouwen tegen Uitzetting

Annelies Claessens, Director Humanitarian Aid, CORDAID

Vereniging Het Syrische Comité

War Child Nl.

ActionAid USA

Autor: PIN

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