Statement by Minister Fantino: High-level Syria Humanitarian Conference

January 30, 2013, Kuwait City

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen.

It has now been 22 months since the start of the conflict in Syria.

The international community, represented by those of us gathered here, continues to be horrified by the ongoing violence in Syria.

Despite our calls to end the violence, the humanitarian crisis in Syria is worsening.

The growing number of civilian deaths and the influx of refugees fleeing Syria underscores the appalling impact of the conflict on the people of Syria.

International and local humanitarian organizations are making heroic efforts to meet the urgent lifesaving needs of those affected by the violence and should be commended.

However, these efforts continue to be obstructed.

Even humanitarian actors are not immune from the violence and a number have laid down their lives in their efforts to save others.

Canada, along with the international community, continues to call for full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

Those in positions of power in Syria must move quickly to facilitate relief efforts, including facilitating the delivery of assistance across Syria's borders, or civilians will continue to die needlessly.

Moreover, all countries must bring pressure to bear on Syria for Assad to go.

In the meantime, we appreciate and applaud the generosity of other countries in the region that continue to provide asylum and effective protection to those displaced.

Canada commends Jordan and other neighbouring countries for taking in so many displaced families, giving them safety and hope of returning home one day.

Given the enormity of needs, it is important that humanitarian assistance provided by the international community is coordinated.

Last year, Canada contributed $23.5-million to provide life-saving assistance to conflict-affected populations in Syria and taking refuge in neighbouring countries.

Canada's funding has contributed to tangible results on the ground including:

  • Providing food assistance to one point five million (1.5M) people of Syria
  • Provide clean drinking water to one point one million (1.1M) people in Syria
  • Helping meet the basic needs of over half a million Syrian refugees who fled to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

We also ask that all partners follow through on their commitments.

Canada has and will continue to do its part.

I am pleased to announce an additional contribution of twenty-five million dollars ($25M) to help the people of Syria.

This humanitarian assistance will help provide food, protection and support those affected by the conflict in Syria.

Canada will continue to look at ways to best support the Syrian population and to address the humanitarian needs arising from this crisis.

We all know that this humanitarian assistance is not enough, a political solution to end the ongoing conflict must be found.

Canada continues to support the efforts of the international community to bring about an end to the violence.

We have repeatedly called on all parties to end the violence.

All parties must support the efforts of Joint Special Envoy Lahkdar Brahimi to end the bloodshed and facilitate an inclusive, Syrian-led political transition.

The violence in Syria must end.

The people of Syria must be safe from violence.

Civilians denied the necessities of life must be provided with humanitarian assistance.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with our partners in an effort to end the suffering of civilians in Syria and ensure life-saving assistance reaches all of those who need it.

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