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A report launched today by international aid agency Concern Worldwide, exposes the contagion of violence that has infected what is left of Syrian society, resulting in ordinary civilians not feeling safe in any environment, be that at home, school, work, or on the streets.
Concern report, entitled "Shattered Lives: Protecting civilians in war-torn Syria, a shared responsibility", reveals through a series of focus groups that the main concerns of civilians living in Northern Syria are many and wide-ranging and include; car bombings and explosions in crowded places; forced conscription; harassment and abuse; forced displacement and travel restrictions; spread of diseases and lack of medicines and medical staff.
In addition, it found that women and girls are the most vulnerable to domestic and sexual abuse, harassment and forced marriage and provides moving testimony from women and young girls of the violence and sexual harassment they are exposed to on a daily basis.
Rose Caldwell, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide (UK), said:
After six years, the violence of the war has now seeped into everyday life. It is now widespread across all sections of society and every aspect of life inside Syria.
The report highlights that despite an increasing recognition that protection must form a central pillar of humanitarian response, it remains drastically underfunded with a gap of over 75% of requirements in each of the last two years.
In 2016, this equated to a shortfall of $180 million and the report calls on UN member states and donors to increase humanitarian protection funding to help alleviate the suffering of displaced people living in a pervasively violent Syria since 2011.
However, it also stressed that humanitarian aid cannot be used as a substitute for failed diplomacy or the lack of political will to find solutions to the conflict.
Caldwell continued: “The long-term psychological and societal damage of the war will take generations to recover from. Ultimately the rebuilding can only begin when the war ends. UN member states must find a political resolution sooner rather than later for the sake of all the ordinary people inside Syria, before their lives are shattered beyond repair.”
For more information or for interviews, please contact Deborah Underdown: 020 7801 1857 or [email protected]
The full report can be found here: https://www.concern.net/insights/shattered-lives-protecting-civilians-war-torn-syria
Notes to Editors:
About Concern Worldwide
Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in 26 of the world’s poorest countries. We work in partnership with the very poorest people in these countries, directly enabling them to improve their lives, as well as using our knowledge and experience to influence decisions made at a local, national and international level that can significantly reduce extreme poverty. Concern has been working in Syria since 2013, and also has programmes supporting Syrian refugees and host communities in both Lebanon and Turkey.
The report is based on the information gathered from segregated groups of girls, boys, women and men from northern Syria. The purpose of meeting with local community members was to understand what their protection concerns are. The focus group discussions aimed to capture information related to protection concerns of the respondents, particularly women and children as the most vulnerable groups so that Concern could respond with appropriate support.
During each discussion, two facilitators were present: male facilitators with the men and boys, and female facilitators with the women and girls. All facilitators came from the local community. Eight discussions were held, providing an opportunity for 65 individuals to express their main protection concerns and propose initiatives that could be taken to mitigate the risks.
Reflecting the need to provide a comprehensive insight into the protection concerns of all of the population, particularly the most vulnerable groups, approximately 52% of participants were female, and 50% of the participants were under 18 years old. An average of eight individuals attended each discussion. Six thematic topics were discussed with guiding questions provided under each.
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