World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Security Council must not fail Syria’s besieged civilians

As many as a quarter of a million civilians in areas under siege around Syria need the UN Security Council to push for unfettered humanitarian access to alleviate their suffering, Amnesty International said today, as the world body considers a draft resolution submitted by Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan.

In one location alone – the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees south of Damascus, in which Syrian nationals also live – the organization has received the names of more than 100 men, women and children who have died during a siege imposed by the Syrian armed forces last July following clashes with armed opposition groups. Starvation, lack of adequate medical care and sniper fire have been the main causes of death.

“The situation for civilians trapped and under siege in a number of locations around Syria is truly dire, with vital food and medical supplies either in short supply or completely lacking,” said José Luis Díaz, Head of Amnesty International’s UN office in New York.

“Time and again, the Security Council has squandered the opportunity to tackle the human rights and humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded during nearly three years of unrest in Syria.

“Its non-binding ‘Presidential Statement’ on humanitarian access, seen as a small step forward when adopted on 2 October last year, has remained essentially a dead letter. The Council, including Russia and China, must adopt a strong resolution on access and not fail Syria’s besieged civilians now.”

Russia – which along with China has vetoed three Security Council resolutions on Syria in the past two and a half years – has already voiced its opposition to the draft resolution.

As negotiations continue on the draft, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos is expected to brief the Security Council today on developments in implementing the Presidential Statement.

There has been limited progress in allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid to some besieged areas, and amid negotiations to end the siege of Yarmouk hundreds of individuals have been evacuated to hospitals elsewhere in Damascus.

But serious obstacles remain. Even the brief ceasefire allowing the evacuation of civilians from Old Homs collapsed as a UN aid convoy came under attack earlier this week, although it has since been extended.

Yarmouk residents have told Amnesty International that they have had no electricity for a year, are forced to forage under sniper fire for grass to eat and some have resorted to eating cat meat. Local activists have published the names of tens of individuals, including relief workers, who were arrested in the last two weeks when they went to the camp’s main northern checkpoint to assist in the distribution of a small aid delivery. Health workers in the camp have told Amnesty International that only one of Yarmouk’s hospitals continues to partially function but that it has no doctors.

Blockades by Syrian government forces on Moadamiya, Eastern Ghouta and other areas have also left desperate civilians trapped and facing extreme food and medical shortages. Two predominantly Shi’a towns in the Aleppo governorate, Zahraa and Nubl, have also been besieged by armed opposition groups in recent months.

“The increased humanitarian access in a limited number of areas is just a drop in the ocean when compared with the massive civilian suffering across Syria today,” said José Luis Díaz.

“Civilians have been caught in the crossfire and cut off from humanitarian aid for too long. With the Geneva talks between the Syrian government and armed groups faltering, the UN Security Council has no time to lose to ensure adequate humanitarian access is allowed to reach all civilians in need.”

The Syrian government must allow the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Syria access to investigate all human rights violations and abuses, including those amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes, being committed by all parties to the conflict. It should also allow access to Amnesty International and other human rights organizations.

The organization continues to call for the release of peaceful activists in government detention and civilian hostages being held by armed groups.

AI Index: PRE01/071/2014

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

West Papua: “Lest We Forget”

AS Anzac approaches and Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought and lost their lives on Anzac Day, it is hoped we will also remember the unfree people of the Pacific region and in particular those who are still suffering from human ... More>>

Iran: 81 Executions In One Week

Coincident with mass executions in the prisons of Ghezel-Hessar, Karaj and other cities, the anti-human regime of mullahs sent 16 other prisoners to the gallows in Mashhad and Birjand (northeastern Iran). Twelve of them were hanged collectively ... More>>

Al-Shabaab: Four Unicef Staff Killed In Somalia

Four UNICEF staff members have been killed in an attack on their vehicle in Garowe, Somalia. Four other UNICEF colleagues are in a serious condition. The IED (improvised explosive device) attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest ... More>>

UN: Suicide Attack In Jalalabad Condemned

NEW YORK/KABUL/GENEVA (18April 2015) – “I strongly condemn the brutal suicide attack that coincided with my visit to Jalalabad today,” said United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović during his visit to Afghanistan. ... More>>

Save The Children: STC Urges EU Leaders To Act To Prevent More Mass Drownings

Save the Children Urges EU Leaders to Act to Prevent More Mass Drownings at Sea. More>>

ALSO:

Japan: Independent Experts Slam Japan’s New Whaling Plan

Independent experts slam Japan’s new whaling plan and declare no more whales need to be killed for Antarctic research More>>

Gaza Strip: Attacks In The Border Areas

Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by ... More>>

Australian Government: Iraq Deployment: Joint Press Conference, Canberra

Back in March, the Government announced that we were preparing a force for a Building Partner Capacity training mission in Iraq. I can inform you that today the Cabinet has decided to deploy that force. The deployment will start tomorrow and we expect ... More>>

UNHRC: UN Committee Against Torture To Review New Zealand

UN Committee against torture to review New Zealand, Congo, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Serbia, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia More>>

UNHRC: Nigeria: One Year On, Call To Bring Back Abducted Children

Nigeria: One year on, UN and African experts call for decisive steps to bring back abducted children More>>

EU & US Let Iran Win Top Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board

EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Top Seat on UN Women’s Rights Board, Rights Group Says More>>

Peaceful Tree Planting Attacked By Zionist Settlers/soldiers

Peaceful tree planting attacked by zionist settlers and soldiers, two Palestinians hospitalised and a German activist arrested. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news