28.02.2014 / For immediate release
Charities in Syria seek ways for greater cooperation between aid groups
Parliamentary meeting between MPs and Charity heads discusses crisis which could last another decade.
Some of the leading charities operating in Syria are calling for greater co-operation between aid organisations and governments as the crisis enters its fourth year.
The organisations are meeting in Parliament next month to discuss ways to pool experiences, ideas and explore ways to improve the flow of aid and relief to the country.
The event will take place at the House of Commons on 4th March 2014. The conference will hear from a number of aid experts who have all experienced the crisis in Syria first hand. All the panel members will talk about how the Syrian crisis is affecting the lives of its people now and in the long term.
The event is co-hosted by Mosaic - a charity which was founded by Prince Charles and the Manchester based charity Human Appeal - which has been working in Syria since the onset of the crisis in March 2011.
Representatives from Save The Children, Islamic Relief, UNICEF and Oxfam are expected to be represented. The panel discussion will be hosted by Sara Teather MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees.
The panel will also include Matthew Wyatt - the head of the Syria Crisis Unit at DFID, Maruice Wren – Chief Executive of the Refugee Council and Roland Schilling – UNHCR Representative to the UK. The panel will be chaired by Aaqil Ahmed, Mosaic Board member and Head of Religion & Ethics at the BBC. He accompanied Human Appeal on a trip to Syria in 2013.
"There is still little hope of a speedy end to the hostilities in Syria. The recent peace talks in Switzerland broke up without making any real progress," says David Hannam from Mosaic. The conference will also hear from the Jordanian Ambassador in London about the effect this movement of displaced people and refugees is having on his country.
Human Appeal, the co-organiser of the event is concerned that even if the fighting ended tomorrow the crisis amongst the millions of displaced people will continue for many years to come. Human Appeal, which is already operating the first safe village situated at Bab Al-Salamah, about an hour's drive from Aleppo on the Turkish/Syrian bolder near Kilis, is expected to call for more commitment to 'Safe Villages' to be set up close to the borders of Syria. Human Appeal’s site is hosting 700 people from about one hundred families.
"These villages need to be funded and we need more of them in locations which are accessible but away from the fighting." says Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal.
The majority of refugees and displaced people sheltering at Bab Al-Salamah are from families torn apart by the conflict. Many of the children - who make up around a half of the population here - are already orphaned. The village was established by Human Appeal to protect, feed and care for vulnerable people including widows, orphans and the elderly and disabled.
"The more we can highlight the real tragedy which is taking place in Syria and bring it to the attention of the politicians, the better," says Moqbel.
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Notes to editors
The event will take place at the House of Commons on 4th March 2014 (6:30pm - 8:30pm). It will be hosted by Sara Teather MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees. The organisers are honoured that His Excellency Mazen Kemal Homoud, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the UK has agreed to join us.
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