EU must 'take leadership' to ensure inclusive Syrian aid

Radical change is needed for disabled, injured and older Syrian refugees, says Aleema Shivji.

By Aleema Shivji

17 Apr 2014

Disabled, injured and older refugees are paying a double toll as a result of the conflict in Syria. These vulnerable individuals are at far greater risk of falling through the gaps of humanitarian relief, with a far higher impact on their health, living conditions and social integration than for other refugees, and increased psychological distress.

Yet, these same groups are often neglected in the assessment, data collection, design and delivery of humanitarian relief.

"22 per cent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan have a physical, sensory or intellectual impairment, but just 1.4 per cent of those registered with UN refugee agency are recorded as having a disability"

A new report, by Handicap International and HelpAge International, provides data showing just how much these vulnerable refugees are struggling to meet their specific needs.

A striking 22 per cent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan have a physical, sensory or intellectual impairment, but just 1.4 per cent of those registered with UN refugee agency are recorded as having a disability.

Addressing the needs of all affected people is critical to the delivery of principled and impartial aid. Leadership from the EU is required to change the way aid is delivered. More precise targeting and registration of refugees and better training of staff are needed to ensure that humanitarian assistance is accessible, appropriate and effective.

Furthermore, we call on the EU and its member states to ensure the UN resolution to improve humanitarian access to the most vulnerable inside Syria is effectively implemented and monitored.

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