Ahead of the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week, the Karam Foundation calls on the U.N. to reexamine its aid distribution methods in Syria, which currently favor cooperation with the Syrian government. This approach to the humanitarian crisis has proven to be harmful to civilians, as validated by a wide range of local civil society organizations conducting aid initiatives.

The U.N.’s cooperation with Damascus ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of aid it receives is channeled to regime-held territories. A recently published report by the Syria Campaign entitled Taking Sides: The United Nations’ loss of impartiality, independence and neutrality in Syria found that in April 2016, 88 percent of food aid delivered from Damascus went into government-controlled territory. With respect to U.N. aid in particular, it was found in August 2015 that over 99 percent of its aid delivered through Damascus was directed to regime-held territories.  

The U.N.’s ineffective aid distribution model in Syria has proven to be to the disadvantage of civilians, as it has barred many of them from access to life-saving aid. Thousands have died due to starvation, malnutrition-related illness, or a lack of access to health care. Moreover, this model has excluded key civil society organizations from receiving the support needed for their relief efforts.

Ahead of her upcoming speaking engagement at the 2016 Concordia Summit’s Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees, coinciding with UNGA, Karam Foundation CEO Lina Sergie Attar expressed her concern.

“After witnessing the scale of suffering for years through the work of Karam, it is disappointing that the U.N. has been incapable of finding a way to ensure that aid is evenly distributed to the Syrian people.”

Attar added that it is “unfortunate that the U.N. has selected to channel much of its aid to millions of Syrians in need through the regime when dozens of Syrian civil organizations are on the ground risking their lives to help people in need.”  

The Syria Campaign’s report, which has paved the way for a discussion on the credibility of the U.N.’s humanitarian principles in Syria, has been signed by Karam along with over 60 other organizations. It unveils a U.N. approach to the conflict that fails to embrace its “humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence, and neutrality.”

Karam Foundation specializes in smart aid, sustainable development, and innovative education for Syrians in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Its initiatives focus on the need to respond to the refugee crisis’ causes rather than symptoms. Karam conducts aid programs that are both short- and long-term in nature and work with displaced Syrian refugees to provide lasting development and educational opportunities. Read about its “Children of Syria” campaign, launched in response to the video of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, here.

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