IOM DG Swing’s Statement at the Syria Brussels Conference

Article published on IOM website on 04/05/2017


Distinguished Guests,

On behalf of the International Organization for Migration, I have the honor to submit to you a few considerations in this session dedicated to the future of Syria:

The future of Syria will be grim if current needs are not being addressed with a greater sense of urgency. 7 years into the conflict, there is no end in sight for the suffering and deprivation endured by the over 10 million Syrians who have been forced to leave their homes. Despite sporadic and partial halts to the fighting, Syrians continue to face, every day, a level of hardship that is almost unheard of in recent times. In 2016 alone, 4,000 people were displaced every day inside Syria, because of insecurity, because their houses were destroyed, because they had no more access to basic services, because they had lost their livelihood.

Humanitarian partners have stayed alongside Syrians and delivered assistance to millions of people in their homes, collective centers, camps, schools and hospitals. They have done so despite the danger, despite the deliberate attacks, the pressures and, sometimes, the increased politicization of the response. And while humanitarian responders will continue to be there for Syrians as long as it is required, the humanitarian band aid can only go so far. Solutions may only be political and will require compromises by all parties to the conflict.

Over the course of my long diplomatic career, I have never experienced such a complex and volatile crisis, one whose stakeholders seem to trample the principles of humanity with such disregard. The international community gathered yet again today in Brussels has a responsibility to the 13 million people in need inside Syria, to the 5 million refugees in neighboring countries and beyond, and towards our respective constituencies, who must be shown that this level of suffering and man-made catastrophe can no longer be tolerated.

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