Statement by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie on the Seventh Anniversary of the start of the Syrian Crisis
“Today we mark another shameful milestone in the man-made tragedy that is the Syria conflict.
This is a war that has been waged almost exclusively against civilians, who have been bombed, gassed, besieged, starved, tortured and displaced, for seven interminable years, in the full gaze of the world. Hundreds of thousands of innocent lives have been sacrificed to this senseless conflict.
After seven years of war and atrocities we are beyond excuses. The Syrian refugees I have met are tired of empty promises and sympathetic statements, and rightly so. Everyone can see that the international community is not acting as it should, and that countries with influence in the conflict are putting their perceived interests ahead of international law and the rights of Syrian people, in a way that is nothing short of inhumane. We will be haunted in decades to come by our failure in Syria, as we are by other mass crimes of the recent past.
My thoughts are with Syrian families, who have played no part in the conflict and whose homes, livelihoods and hopes have been destroyed, and with everyone working bravely to save life and alleviate suffering inside Syria, in unimaginably difficult circumstances.
Until there is peace in Syria, we must stay the course in protecting those forced from their homes, wherever they are. This is the least that we can do.
And I call again on the members of the United Nations Security Council acting with other nations to address the roots of the conflict – demanding not only a ceasefire and a diplomatic path out of the crisis, but justice and accountability for monstrous human rights violations committed against the Syrian people.”
Notes to editors:
- 6.1 million people have been forced from their homes inside Syria and 5.6 million refugees have sought safety beyond Syria’s borders.
- The conditions faced by civilians inside Syria are worse than ever, with more than two thirds now languishing in extreme poverty. Nine out of ten Syrian families spend more than half of their income on food. The price of food has increased eightfold since the start of the war. Millions of people require urgent assistance.
- The conditions for millions of Syrians in exile grow more desperate, with the vast majority living below the poverty line. More than three quarters of refugees in urban areas of Jordan and Lebanon are unable to meet their basic food, shelter, health or education needs.
- Many of Syria’s children know nothing but war, exile and hardship. Out of 1.7 million school-aged Syrian refugees, nearly half are still out of school.
In order to meet massive humanitarian needs both inside Syria and in neighboring countries, an increase in support and solidarity by the donor community is urgently required.