Due to the escalating violence in Syria, the movement and access to education and other vital necessities has been made increasingly difficult and has caused severe hardship for refugees. The mass displacement, closure of schools and levels of violence affecting women and children has driven the Government of Catalonia to approve an extraordinary call for humanitarian projects in order to meet some of the needs of internally displaced persons affected by the crisis in Syria, as well as the refugees who have had to flee to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.
In this respect, the Executive, through the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (CADC), has agreed to fund seven humanitarian projects with approximately 306,000 euros to promote the rights of displaced Syrians who are particularly vulnerable in the context of the current crisis. Furthermore, a special emphasis has been placed on the vital needs of women with regards to good sexual and reproductive health.
The projects presented in this call are aimed at reinforcing the protection of certain human rights that have been violated during the war in Syria or may have not received the special attention required due to the crisis. In this regard, the projects circumvent a more comprehensive approach to humanitarian aid and instead focus more on specific areas of action, for instance, the promotion of the right to education among child refugees, the right of women in vulnerable situations to physical, mental and social well-being in matters relating to the reproductive system or the economic rights of refugee families.
The projects included in the call are the following:
- Save the Children: Improving access for children in emergency situations to protective and education services in the Al-Hasakah Governorate in Syria.
- UNICEF: Delivering humanitarian action to attend Syrian refugees in Jordan.
- Catalan UNHCR Committee: Providing urgent assistance to Syrian refugees in Iraq.
- UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency): Providing items of clothing and hygiene for displaced persons in critical locations as a result of the Syrian conflict.
- Red Cross: Giving obstetrical support and gynaecological care for women in vulnerable situations in Syria and Palestine and other areas affected by the Syrian conflict.
- Action Against Hunger: Cash-for-Work programmes to reduce socioeconomic vulnerability of Syrian refugees in local communities across Lebanon.
- Clowns Without Borders: Supporting Syrian and Iraqi refugees hosted iMiddle Eastern countries through comedy and scenic arts.
The call for humanitarian projects was made possible due to an increase in the CADC budget, approved by the Government of Catalonia in October 2015, and has also allowed for an extension on the call for regular grants.