Helen Hayford, Global Protection Advisor at Malteser International, Briefed the UN Security Council on the Sovereign Order of Malta’s Humanitarian Operations in Syria


The UN Security Council convened on April 25th, 2024, to discuss the Middle East, focusing on the conflict in Syria. During the meeting, multiple briefers shared their perspectives, including Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, and Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of the Coordination Division at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Helen Hayford, Global Protection Advisor at Malteser International representing the Sovereign Order of Malta, provided a heartfelt account of the severe humanitarian crisis in Syria. She described the plight of individuals like Abu Ammar, Hala, and Areej, who have endured displacement, loss of homes, and a lack of basic necessities.

Despite the challenges, the Sovereign Order of Malta, through Malteser International, remains committed to delivering essential health care, water, sanitation, hygiene services, and livelihood opportunities. Their efforts have directly benefited over 250,000 Syrians, with 33,000 patients receiving treatment in supported health-care facilities and over 50,000 mental health and psychosocial support sessions facilitated.

Ms. Hayford stressed the urgent need for increased international support and funding, highlighting the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law and protecting civilians. Recent developments, such as Syria’s re-admission to the Arab League, offer hope for collective action to address the crisis, particularly in agricultural development and infrastructure rebuilding.

Despite ongoing challenges, Ms. Hayford encouraged maintaining optimism and working towards a brighter future for Syria.