Syria: Italy joins major pledging event; Stefanile, “humanitarian access and accountability are key”

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NEW YORK, MARCH 30 – Ending the war in Syria is the collective responsibility of the international community, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reaffirmed during a major pledging event on Tuesday which raised $6.4 billion to support people affected by the  conflict. “After a decade of war, many Syrians have lost confidence that the international community can help them forge an agreed path out of the conflict. I am convinced that we still can, along with the Syrian parties themselves”, Guterres said in a video message to the fifth Brussels Conference, co-chaired by the European Union and the UN.

The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, announced a contribution of 45 million euro in grants. Throughout March, the UN has been commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Syrian war. Parallel to the pledging conference, the UN General Assembly in New York held an informal meeting looking at the humanitarian situation and human rights in the country. Assembly President Volkan Bozkir told ambassadors the crisis has left specific groups especially vulnerable, including children, some of whom have been forced to work so that their families can survive. “For girls, the situation is even worse as they are being forced into early marriage; and are thus likely to never return to a classroom, and to experience gender-based violence in their adult life, just as the current generation of Syrian women have”, he said.

“Unhindered humanitarian access, accountability for human rights violations and continuous support for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political solution remain key”, the Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge’ d’Affaires of Italy to the United Nations, Stefano Stefanile, said today during the General Assembly meeting: “Now more than ever, the Syrian people need to feel that the international community continues to stand by their side – notwithstanding all the huge difficulties on the ground and at the negotiating table”. (@OnuItalia)