Syria

Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council - Universal Periodic Review, Syria

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KEY FACTS

Economic impact of the ten-year conflict:

• Half of the Syrian people living in Northern Syria are children; and nearly all (94 per cent) of them are living in areas of severe, extreme, or catastrophic education conditions.

• The Syrian war has cost US$1.2 trillion — which almost equals the European Union’s budget over a decade.

• Even if the war stopped today, the cumulative economic cost will continue to be paid to the tune of an additional US$ 1.4 trillion in today’s money through to 2035.

• By 2035 the negative impacts on children’s health and education bring the total cost of war up to US$ 1.7 trillion, in today’s money

Denial of humanitarian access for children and GBV survivors:

• Syria is the most dangerous country to deliver life-saving assistance and humanitarian services to, with 272 aid workers killed as of December 2020.1 • Nearly 90 per cent of children are in need of humanitarian assistance, a 20 per cent increase in the past year alone.

• Denial of humanitarian access has served to disconnect children from mental health and psychosocial support, education, food, shelter, healthcare, clean water, sanitation and protection.

• The consequences are not only felt in the immediacy but also the longer term as children will be unable to support any resolution, peace process, or recovery process.

• Each year 20,000 Syrian women and almost 53,000 Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors – including children – may face reduced access to activities aimed at preventing GBV if the UNSC cross border resolution is not renewed in 2022.2 • 82% of those in need in NWS are at risk of not having access to essential health services including ongoing COVID-19 prevention and treatment if the cross border access is halted or hindered. The immediate and long term consequences will be risk to catch the virus, unequipped hospitals for critical care, no medicines and much more.

Impact on child rights and education:

• 4.8 million Syrian children were born since the war started ten years ago and know nothing but war.

• Syrian children’s life expectancy has decreased by 13 years since the war began, 55,000 of those killed since the war began are children.

• More than 75% of Syrian children in northwest Syria display post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and are in need of critical mental health and psychosocial support.3 • Over 3.5 million children are out of school in the whole of Syria Syria – nearly 40 per cent are girls.4 • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused three in ten children (29.23%) to drop out of school.

• Economic circumstances in the pandemic mean many children are unable to continue their education through home learning as they do not have access to any/enough connected electronic devices.

• The widespread use of cluster munitions and the rising poverty levels have created a context where Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) have become a major issue.

• Two children who attend our schools have been killed by UXOs in 2021 alone, several have been maimed. In all cases it has been children who were scavenging, in order to find items to sell, picked up a metal object which they did not realize to be a UXO.

• Since verified reporting began in 2014, the UN has documented 671 attacks on education, including 61 in 2020.5 • Of the 306 schools Syria Relief operates in Northern Syria, 8 have been the target of airstrike or shelling since 2019, most recent being June 10th 2021.