It is clear that the International Community has failed the Syrian people, but Omar wonders which part of the ‘International Community’ is most to blame?
Another year has passed, and the situation in Syria remains critical. The worst refugee crisis since the second World War, the skyrocketing number of war crimes and human rights violations by both Government forces and non-state armed groups, and the obliteration of civilian homes tell us that so much more needs to be done. Even UN Secretary, General Ban Ki-moon, condemned global society stating “We have collectively failed the people of Syria.” Continuing he states “peace will only prevail when it is accompanied by compassion, justice, and accountability for the abominable crimes we have seen.” If we accept Ban Ki Moon’s position, the pressing question is: Has the international community unilaterally failed the Syrian people?
To be clear, the UN has some of the most altruistic people working to protect civilian lives. As of November 7 2016, The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) successfully registered more than 4.8 million refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries and north Africa. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a Humanitarian Response Plan in 2015, 2016 and now 2017 in order to secure funding for the humanitarian support of the world’s most vulnerable people including Syria . Even if you only take a cursory glance at the work these agencies, it is clear that they are trying their best to respond to this impossible situation. But whilst their intentions are honourable, it is clear that they cannot do much without the intervention of global governance.
Many of these agencies are often under-funded and lacking not only monetary resources but human resources too. In terms of their political power, they lack executory powers, meaning that they can only release statements on human rights infringements, but are unable to hold parties accountable for their atrocious acts.
The problem with the response to the crisis is that in the councils that yield political power, parties are unwilling to compromise, agree on priorities, and ensure peace by reinforcing their positions as the standard-bearers of “accountability”. Instead, we have witnessed veto after veto, prioritising State interests over the others in conflict areas. Each time a resolution passes, we have seen that ‘words’ remain words, not enforced by actions. Surely, improvement is need in a system that has proven to not always be effective?
But how about we strengthen the humanitarian agencies, those who have “compassion” at heart, and “justice” as their top priority? The international community has failed the Syrian people not because there is an absence of altruistic people willing to help, but because those people often find themselves unsupported, by key organisations. In a humanitarian crisis things change exponentially and so perpetually, these global organisations need to be more proactive. Humanitarians do not want to wait for “talks” to take initiative, and should not be lacking support from the international agencies to do so.
Those who wish to substitute or eliminate the UN must understand that there is no alternative. This is our governance system. Our hope in securing global justice lies in the work of the UN, and in fixing what is broken. 2016 saw a greater depletion in the humanitarian field, the greater espousing of rhetoric with no action. It is time that the humanitarian community are given the support they deserve, so the UN and the like better start doing more, and talk less.