#withsyria - international mobilisation

Press release
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Global call to make 3rd anniversary of Syria Crisis the last marked by bloodshed

Launch of the Website free-syrian-voices.org

Thousands of people to attend vigils held in more than 40 countries. Banksy creates a #WithSyria reworking of his iconic “girl with a red balloon” image. Nelson’s Column, the Lincoln Memorial and Eiffel Tower to be lit up in message of hope at the vigils.

132 humanitarian and human rights groups join the faith leaders and high profile names in demanding immediate action to ensure Syrians in need, including civilians in areas under siege, can access aid. Stunning #WithSyria animation released with exclusive music from Elbow, who have given their song “The Blanket of Night” as the soundtrack.

Banksy, Idris Elba and Elbow are just some of the stars who are supporting the #WithSyria campaign that will see thousands of people across the world, from Moscow to Washington, stand together in a global vigil to mark the 3rd anniversary of the crisis in Syria from Thursday 13th March.

Iconic locations across the world will be bathed in light by candlelit vigils, a Banksy light projection using his artwork which he has redesigned to feature a young Syrian girl holding a red balloon, and the release of red balloons, carrying messages of hope to Syrians.

Syrian voices have joined a coalition of 130 humanitarian and human rights groups from 26 countries, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Hand in Hand for Syria and the International Rescue Committee, to simultaneously launch a pledge for world leaders to commit to making this the last anniversary marked by bloodshed. The campaign is calling for urgent action to ensure Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege - can access aid, and for the voices of ordinary Syrians to be heard and heeded in reconvened peace talks.

Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children said: For three years Syria’s children have endured unacceptable suffering. The impact of this crisis has been devastating. Doctors that we work with on the ground have told us children are having limbs amputated because basic antibiotics for less serious wounds are not available and newborn babies are dying in incubators due to frequent power cuts. Full humanitarian access would help injured and sick children receive the medical care that they need. The UN resolution on access must be implemented. Tonight’s vigil, and vigils around the world, are to show the people of Syria that we care and that we are demanding world leaders take action to end this conflict now."

Actor Idris Elba explained that "it was important for me to support and lend my voice to this stunning animation that alongside Banksy’s new piece is part of the #WithSyria campaign. Ordinary Syrian civilians continue to pay the heaviest price in a conflict that has already wrecked millions of lives. Let’s stand with Syria today".

Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring said Syria has been devastated by three years of conflict. More than 2.5 million Syrians have fled the country and the lives of millions more have been shattered. The international community has shown it can unite on Syria, but it must be consistent to ensure there is a halt to the bloodshed and an adequate aid response. Countries must give generously to the UN’s humanitarian appeal for $6.5bn, which is severely under-funded, and reconvene inclusive talks on the future of the country as a matter of urgency."

Ends //

Notes to the editor:

Those available for interviews and background briefings include Syrians with powerful personal stories, David Miliband and CEOs of humanitarian agencies working on the ground and high-profile supporters of the campaign. For more information, for accreditation to the vigil and for interview requests please contact: FIDH Press Office, Arthur Manet or Audrey Couprie / 0033 1 43 55 25 18 / press@fidh.org

The #WithSyria film is a stunning animation written and created for the campaign by Sunshine (www.thesunshinecompany.com), directed by RSA directors, Hi-Sim Studios, and produced by Melody Sylvester for RSA Films with exclusive music from Elbow, who have given their song “The Blanket of Night” as the soundtrack. Idris Elba provides the voiceover. The film will be shown across the world from an inflatable cinema in Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan to the big screen in Times Square. The video is hosted on www.withsyria.com. Contact FIDH Press Office for help hosting on your organisation’s website.

People from Syria and across the world have been sending pictures of themselves with red balloons to #WithSyria they can be viewed here. Readers & viewers can send their own message to a Syrian child by tweeting a photo of themselves holding a red balloon attached to a written message of support to #WithSyria

To see a full list of signatory organisations – visit www.with-syria.org .

Vigils will be held in over 40 locations including:

London, Trafalgar Square, 13.03
18:00-19:00 UTC+00:00
New York, FDR Four Freedoms Park, 13.03
18:15-20:00 UTC-04:00
Washington, Capitol Building, 13.03
18:30-20:00 UTC-04:00
Jordan, Za’atari Camp, 13.03
18:00-19:00 UTC+02:00
Paris, Eiffel Tower, 15.03
19:00-22:00 UTC+04:00
Moscow, Tretyakovskaya Gallery, 13.03
18:00-19:00 UTC+04:00

There is a photo call for simultaneous release of a red balloon on the 13.3.14 at 12pm GMT in the United Kingdom (Parliament Square 12pm) the United States (New York – Times Square 8am) Russia (4pm) France (Paris 1pm) and the largest Syrian refugee camp in Jordan (Za’atari Camp 2pm). Contact press@fidh.org for further details.

Latest UN Statistics highlight that three years of crisis in Syria has resulted in over 2.5 million refugees, 9.3 million people in need of Humanitarian Assistance in Syria and over 6.5 million Internally Displaced Persons. Unicef have said that 1 in 10 Syrian children have fled the country. The number of Syrian refugees also exceeds the number of refugees during all the Yugoslav wars between 1991 and 1997.

#WithSyria Campaign would like to thank Mayor of London for his support

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