Catholic Relief Services, the official overseas humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, stands in solidarity with the victims of the conflict in Syria. With the Church across the globe, we solemnly mark the third anniversary of the beginning of this war and call for a renewed diplomatic effort to end the horrific bloodshed that has killed more than 130,000 people. While our staff and partners in the region are heroically responding to the human needs on the ground, their courage and commitment must be matched by resolve to end this conflict.
We implore the United States to work with other governments and parties on the ground to obtain a ceasefire, recommit to serious negotiations, ensure impartial humanitarian access, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities. The United States and other governments must undertake every diplomatic effort to end to the killing of civilians, lift all sieges, and ensure provision of unfettered humanitarian access in Syria.
We also ask for a robust commitment to help the more than nine million victims of this violence, many of them children, now and in the years to come. Congress must expand funding for humanitarian assistance and generous aid to nations in the region that currently host 2.4 million refugees. United States leadership is more important than ever to restore stability in the region.
As we provide assistance to hundreds of thousands of the displaced, we also recognize that some individuals with special concerns must be resettled. We therefore call on Congress to facilitate resettlement of 15,000 refugees this year.
We echo the words of Pope Francis’ Vigil for peace, “…I think of the children: look upon these… look at the sorrow of your brother, stay your hand and do not add to it, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered.” We join our brothers and sisters of all faiths in praying and acting for peace.
Read how CRS is assisting Syrian refugees in the region.