DRC reaction to the Brussels IV conference on supporting Syria and the region

In a reaction to the Brussels IV conference on 30 June organised by the European Union and co-hosted by the UN, the Danish Refugee Council’s Secretary General, Charlotte Slente, commented:

“We welcome the pledges and efforts made today to respond to one of the most protracted and complex humanitarian crises in the world. We also commend the effort of the organisers to include Syrian civil society actors, including women, in the conference. It is essential that Syrian voices are kept at the forefront of the decision-making process looking forward so they will be able to determine their own future, contribute to rebuilding their country and lead dignified, safe lives.

Refugee hosting countries in the region continue to shoulder the responsibility of hosting millions of refugees and providing life-saving assistance. Those countries have been facing particular strain on their communities and infrastructure, compounded by economic collapse, currency depreciation, high unemployment and in recent months, COVID-19 and related risks and restrictions. While we applaud the high-level engagement and commitment expressed at today’s conference, we would have liked to see more discussions about resettlement. Active responsibility-sharing along with adequate multi-year funding are of utmost importance to support host countries, improve protection and assistance for refugees, and ensure their enjoyment of human rights. We also reiterate the importance of European governments ensuring consistent, timely and transparent application of the humanitarian exemptions to aid by banks so we are able to assist the 11.7 million people in need inside Syria.

The Syria conflict has gone on for far too long causing immense human suffering. Financial support and humanitarian assistance however are not enough to respond to the scale of humanitarian needs. Governments and the international community must take concrete steps towards the commitments made today; show solidarity with host countries affected by the crisis through a commitment to the three internationally recognised durable solutions including resettlement; and emphasise that only a viable political solution, in line with the UN resolution, can put a halt to this conflict.

We can and must do more to ensure the plight of the people of Syria is resolved once and for all.”