Continued Crisis in Syria Highlights Need for Link between Humanitarian Aid and Persecution

12/04/20 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Amid political deadlock over a resolution to the conflict, Syrians are currently facing a worsening humanitarian crisis. Many villages in the north of the country have been without electricity for months, as a result of bombings from Turkish forces. Additionally, as the Syrian economy continues to plummet, many are at risk of starvation.

Christians are especially hurt by this crisis, as they are often treated as second-class citizens in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country. With hatred towards Christians still sometimes manifesting itself into violent attacks and kidnappings, Syrian Christians are constantly fearful for their safety amidst already difficult conditions, and require unique attention from humanitarian aid organizations.

Last month, during the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief, ICC partnered with the Government of Hungary to host a side event on “The Nexus of Persecution and Humanitarian Aid.” Bringing in leaders from the US government, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, the international Church, and the NGO community, this event highlighted the need to incorporate persecution into analyses when distributing humanitarian aid.

Although the event specifically used Nigeria as an example of why this relationship is so important, Syria too provides a case study on this concept. Because of the lower position of Syrian Christians within society, humanitarian rights organizations should understand that persecution creates unique situations that alter how aid ought to be distributed so that everyone can get necessary relief.

As Syrians continue to suffer, now more than ever the international community needs to deliver the much needed humanitarian aid to victims while addressing religious freedom in the country.