New York, 01 July 2015 – Secretary-General calls on the international community to waste no more time in ending the violence in Syria
On the third anniversary of the adoption of the Geneva Communiqué, the Secretary-General said that it should shame us all that the suffering of the Syrian people continues to plumb new depths.
“The international community, and in particular the Security Council, cannot afford to waste any further time in ending the cycle of violence. The human cost of further delay should be unacceptable to all – strategically, politically and morally,” he stated.
The Secretary-General added that his Special Envoy on Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, was engaging in a series of consultations on how the Geneva Communiqué can be translated into meaningful action to ease the plight of the Syrian people and urged the international community to genuinely work with him to that end. “Three years after the parties themselves, and all those with influence on them, expressed support for a plan to end that suffering, it is time to find an exit from this madness,” Mr. Ban said.
Special Envoy de Mistura continues consultations on Geneva communiqué
As part of the ongoing Geneva consultations, Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met on 25 June with leaders of the Syrian tribes. They briefed the envoy on their assessments of the situation on the ground and concerns of their respective communities. They also discussed perspectives for a political solution to the conflict. On 26 June, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met with Ms. Rajaa Altalli and Mr. Renas Sino of the Centre for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the escalating conflict and deteriorating situation on the ground, as well as on the work of the Centre. They also shared their perspectives for a political solution in Syria and for ways that civil society organizations could contribute to efforts towards ending the conflict.
Aid access in Syria remains a serious challenge, UN official tells the Security Council
Briefing the Security Council on 29 June, Deputy Humanitarian Chief Kyung Wa Kang said humanitarian access to the 4.8 million Syrians in need in hard-to-reach areas remains a serious challenge, as a result of active conflict, insecurity and deliberate obstruction by the parties to the conflict. “UN agencies and partners are only reaching around 34 per cent of hard-to-reach and besieged areas each month,” she stressed.
In her address, Ms. Kang appealed to the Government to approve the pending requests and allow rapid and unimpeded access to all hard-to-reach locations.
The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs also voiced concerns about depleted funding. “Only a quarter of the appeal for life-saving work in Syria and the region is funded today,” she said, noting that food assistance across the region is now in jeopardy.
Food assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon to be halved in July
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) will halve the value of food vouchers or “e-cards” for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In a press statement on 1 July, the agency said it is facing severe lack of funding and is being forced to make deeper cuts in its food assistance programmes. WFP also fears that if it does not receive immediate funding by August, it will have to suspend all assistance to Syrian refugees living in outside camps, leaving more than 440,000 people without food.
WFP is funded entirely by contributions from governments, companies and private individuals. But its regional refugee operation is currently 81 percent underfunded and immediately requires US$139 million to continue helping desperate refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq through September.
UNRWA to reduce personnel amid funding shortage
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) announced on 29 June that it will start reducing its international personnel due to funding shortages. In a statement, the agency said that 85 per cent of all 137 international personnel on short-term contracts will be separated in a phased process by the end of September. UNRWA has a deficit of $US 101 million, but will continue with robust efforts in resource mobilization.
“As things currently stand, with stringent austerity measures already in place, the Agency should be able to continue with life-saving services to the end of the year,” said UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness. He stressed however that if the gap is not filled, UNRWA’s school system, for 500,000 children across the Middle East, might have to be scaled down.
Security Council extends mandate of UN Disengagement Observer Force for six months
On 29 June, the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for six months, until 31 December 2015. While adopting resolution 2229 (2015), Council members strongly condemned the use of heavy weapons by both the Syrian Armed Forces and armed groups in the Syrian conflict, and underscored that there should be no military activity in the area of separations.
Denouncing recent attacks against peacekeepers, the 15-member Council reaffirmed its readiness to consider listing individuals, groups, and entities providing support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or to the Al-Nusra Front, under the 1267/1989 (Al-Qaida) sanctions regime, including those participating in or otherwise supporting attacks against UN peacekeepers.
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A donation from an Emirati Foundation to help Syrian refugees in Jordan
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UN Spokesperson @UN_Spokesperson
It should shame us that 3 yrs since Geneva Communiqué suffering of #Syria ppl continues to plumb new depths – #UNSG http://bit.ly/1RQn8ZK
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Ongoing social media campaigns
#4Syria campaign was launched on 20 March 2015 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to highlight the Syrian conflict, which has entered its fifth year. The campaign calls for an end to the conflict and seeks to raise funds for UNRWA’s programmes to support Palestinian refugees from Syria. It features testimonies of Palestine refugees; voices that, amid the tragedy, brim with positive energy and determination, as well as documents highlighting UNRWA’s emergency work in the region. View the campaign at: http://www.unrwa.org/syria-crisis/syria4thanniversary
#SaveYarmouk was launched in January 2015 to shed light on the grave deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yarmouk, following the escalation of fighting. The campaign includes stories and updates from Yarmouk as well as recorded voices of residents describing the horrible conditions in which they are living. With no access to regular food supplies, clean water, health care, electricity or heating fuel, Yarmouk’s civilian population is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. For those who wish to support UNRWA’s work in Syria, donation is possible through the campaign’s website: http://www.unrwa.org/crisis-in-yarmouk
UNICEF and its partners are committed to keeping Syrian children from becoming a ‘lost generation’. Critical efforts are being made to minimize the impact of the crisis on children – including in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as in the future of children, through education and child protection.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
UN System agencies :
UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/
OCHA: http:/unocha.org/syria , twitter.com/ocha_syria , facebook.com/UNOCHA.Syria