Syria: SIOI and NPWJ conclude training on SPHERE humanitarian charter

1 Apr, 2014 | Press Releases

Gaziantep, Turkey – 1 April 2014

The humanitarian situation inside Syria remains dramatic and the 6 million people internally displaced need to find their daily way to survive: “As the situation gets worse, not better, it is the ordinary men, women and children of Syria who continue to bear the brunt of this conflict, regardless of who they are, where they are from, or their religious beliefs”. These the words used by Valerie Amos, UN Humanitarian Chief, when addressing the United Nations Security Council on 28 March 2014.

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 between 26-31 March 2014 in Gaziantep, Turkey. The training was 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.

This 6-day course was designed 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 course enabled participants to use the Minimum Standards in planning, delivering and monitoring humanitarian assistance. As stated in the Sphere Project’s Strategy 2015, “Sphere works 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”.

Participants, who came mostly from Northern region of Syria, but also from Damascus, face in their daily life the emergency of IDPs in conflict areas: they work directly in Syrian IDPs camps in the border regions of Idlib and Aleppo or coordinate the humanitarian response carried out by Syrian NGOs and opposition-related institutions.


The course provided in-depth training on the minimum standards designed by the SPHERE project and the monitoring mechanisms to plan and deliver humanitarian actions, examining the practical situation on the ground and the needs within Syria, with a view to helping these activists and their networks work effectively on the ground. As with other courses, this training was also devoted to practical exercises and case studies enabling participants to contextualise the standards presented during the course and to engage presenters with the problems they face in their daily work inside Syria. An integral part of the agenda focused on sexual and gender-based violence awareness, within the framework of humanitarian response, considering the importance and sensitivity of this issue.

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.

Recent events:

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