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

 


UN Chiefs Issue Impassioned Plea To Save Besieged Civilians

New York, Apr 23 2014

Syria: UN Chiefs Issue Impassioned Plea To Save Besieged Civilians

Calling urgently on Syrian authorities and the opposition to allow aid access, end siege warfare and halt the indiscriminate bombing of civilians, the top United Nations humanitarian officials today also issued a strong challenge to “those with the responsibility, power and influence” to find the courage to re-energize a thus-far failed diplomatic push to the brutal three-year conflict.

“If the civilians of Syria have not given up, how can the world give up on its efforts to save them – and save Syria?” said a joint statement by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos; Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Antonio Guterres at the UN Refugee Agency(UNHCR); Margaret Chan of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and Ertharin Cousin of the UN World Food Programme(WFP).

The five UN officials noted that an urgent appeal issued a year ago on behalf of millions of people “has gone largely unanswered.”

“The war escalates in many areas. The humanitarian situation deteriorates day after day,” they said, adding that for the civilians remaining in cities experiencing heavy fighting, such as Aleppo and the Old City of Homs, “the worst days seem yet to come.”

More than 9.3 million people are affected by the crisis, now in its fourth year, with more than 2.4 million Syrian refugees registered in the region, according to the latest UN figures.

“All too often, humanitarian access to those in need is being denied by all sides. Aerial bombardment, rockets, mortars and other indiscriminate attacks slaughter innocent men, women, and children,” the UN senior officials said in reference to some 3.5 million people living in areas under siege or unable to be reached with humanitarian assistance.

Armed groups and forces are blocking key roads, including the road from Damascus to Aleppo, where at least one million of the estimated 2.5 million population in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The city is now surrounded on all sides, according to the UN, impacting all facets of daily life – with scarce medical supplies administered by only 40 doctors where there once had been more than 2,000.

One-third of the country’s water treatment plants no longer function and 60 per cent of its health centres destroyed.

Aid agencies, working closely with international and national non-governmental organizations, are doing all they can despite danger to staff on the ground, the UN chiefs stressed, but it is not sufficient.

“If we are to do more, to reach and help more people, those engaged in this horrific conflict, and those with influence over them, must do more,” they urged.

The senior UN officials called on all parties to “enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need, using all available routes either across lines inside Syria or across its borders.”

Those sealing off cities are urged to lift the sieges imposed on civilians, including in Aleppo, the Old City of Homs and Yarmouk as well as Eastern Ghouta, Moadamiyet al-Sham, Nubl and Zahra.

The UN chiefs also called for an end to the “indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilians by the Government and opposition groups” and a stop to all other violations of international humanitarian law.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news