Syria: SIOI and NPWJ conclude second training on SPHERE humanitarian charter

9 May, 2014 | Press Releases

Gaziantep, Turkey, 9 May 2014

War not only brings violence and death; it is usually also a huge humanitarian tragedy that disproportionately affects civilians, particularly women and children. The Syrian crisis is an emblematic and dramatic example of this reality. The suffering of the Syrian population remains enormous and the situation for the people of Syria, both inside and outside the country, continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Nearly half the population have been forced to flee their homes. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 9.3 million people in Syria are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including 6.5 million people who are internally displaced.Building the capacity of Syrian civil society groups and human rights activists involved in humanitarian assistance was one of the main aims of the SPHERE training, held from 4 to 9 May 2014 in Gaziantep, Turkey. This 6-day course was the second training organised by the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI) and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), in partnership with Kirkayak Art Center and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to acquaint participants with the Sphere Handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, the most widely known and internationally recognised set of common principles for quality and accountability in the humanitarian sector.

The participants, who came mostly from the Northern region of Syria (Aleppo, Hasake, Idlib) but also from Damascus and Deir Ezzor, represented different groups and NGOs working in IDP camps inside Syria, including in conflict areas, or Syrian coordination bodies focusing on the humanitarian response.

The course focused on how to use the Minimum Standards in planning, delivering and monitoring humanitarian assistance, considering the values and guidelines developed by the international community. All actions in this respect are guided by the aim of working “for a world where the right of all people affected by disaster to re-establish their lives and livelihoods is recognized and acted upon in ways that respect their voice and promote their dignity, livelihoods and security”. The practical exercises and the case studies provided during the training enabled participants to contextualise the Minimum Standards and to engage presenters with the problems they face in their daily work inside Syria, focusing not only on the theoretical part of any humanitarian response, but also taking into account the situation on the ground.

NPWJ’s Syria Project on Justice and Accountability
This six-day training course is part of an NPWJ project aimed at reducing the expectation and rewards of impunity and at building a culture of accountability. The purpose is to equip citizens to demand accountability and justice for violations taking place on a daily basis for the past two and a half years and, at the same time, to equip the judiciary and legal profession to answer that demand. The mainstay of the project is a series of advocacy and training events, which are being held in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border, with Syrian judges, lawyers and civil society activists from Syria who can bring the skills and (perhaps more importantly) aspirations for justice back to their work and their constituents inside Syria. The long-term goal of this project is to promote democracy and human rights protection through incorporating justice and accountability in decision-making on conflict resolution and stability, development, and reconstructing planning in Syria. The project’s strategic objective is to support Syrian civil society playing an active role on justice and accountability issues, including advocacy and documenting human rights violations, including receiving, gathering, collecting, collating, processing and securely storing information, documentation and materials and analyse it for the purpose of establishing what happened and reconstructing decision-making processes that resulted in violations international humanitarian and human rights law in Syria since March 2011.


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For further information, contact Hadi Al-Khateeb on or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.