IRC: Breadth and scope of the Syrian crisis outstrip the international community’s response

by zoejardiniere

18.01.2013 The International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s new report, ‘Syria: A Regional Crisis’, provides an assessment of the situation in Syria and its neighbouring countries, nearly two years after the beginning of the conflict. The report reveals that a large number of refugees cite sexual violence as a prime reason for their flight.

There is a serious lack of medical and counselling services available to refugee rape survivors. On top of this, refugee women continue to face risks inside and outside of the camps, with elevated levels of domestic violence, and reports of women and girls being forced into early marriages in the hope of protecting them from rape. According to IRC, programs that provide women and girls with economic support are necessary to reduce exploitative jobs and survival sex.

The report warns the international community to prepare for a protracted humanitarian crisis, with refugees potentially unable to return home well beyond the fall of the Assad government and the need for intensive financial and diplomatic support to the region following the end of the conflict.

The report highlights the fact that financial assistance thus far provided by the international community is largely insufficient to address current urgent needs. IRC underlines that sufficient resources need to be committed to meet the needs of refugees living outside of designated camps – about 70% of the total – including health care, money for food and accommodation and access to education.

More than 2.5 million Syrians have been displaced by the conflict, and almost 600,000 have fled to neighbouring countries, while it is estimated that this number could grow to 1,000,000 in the next six months as there are virtually no safe areas left within the country.

An IRC delegation of board members and senior staff travelled to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq in November 2012.

For further information:

–         ECRE Weekly Bulletin, PACE Calls for Further Action to Address the Syrian Refugee Crisis, 9 November 2012

–         Metro, Sexual Violence Against Women in Syria ‘Behind Refugee Crisis’, 14 January 2013

–         The Guardian, Syrian Women and Girls Allege use of Sexual Violence in Civil War, 14 January 2013