A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information
No. 56 / 20 August 2014
Secretary-General welcomes complete destruction of chemical weapons aboard US ship
In a statement issued on 20 August, the Secretary-General welcomed the destruction of the declared chemical weapons material on board the United States Maritime Vessel Cape Ray. “This marks a significant achievement in the international community’s efforts to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic following the framework agreement between Russia and the United States”, he noted. The Secretary-General urged Syrian authorities to build on this historic milestone to ensure the full elimination of their chemical weapons programme, including the destruction of the remaining chemical weapons production facilities.
Secretary-General strongly condemns horrific murder of journalist James Foley
Reacting to the horrific execution of American journalist James Foley, the Secretary-General condemned the murder in the strongest terms, describing it as an abominable crime that underscores the campaign of terror the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues to wage against the people of Iraq and Syria. The Secretary-General urged that the perpetrators of this and other such horrific crimes be brought to justice.
UN agencies launch aid operations to improve conditions for Iraqi refugees arriving in Syria
In response to the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced on 18 August that several UN agencies were stepping up their relief operations. A UN refugees agency (UNHCR) spokesperson said that the agency had launched one of its largest aid pushes to help provide assistance to nearly half a million displaced people.Inside Syria, UNHCR continues to help the Yazidi people fleeing the Sinjar area. An estimated 8,000 people have sought shelter at the Newroz camp, some 60 kilometres from the Iraqi border. UNHCR is continuing to help with transport for the refugees to and from the camp and is flying in more aid from its warehouses in Damascus.
Meanwhile, UNICEF said on 18 August that several thousand children are among the Iraqi refugees sheltered at the Newroz camp.According to reports, the Yazidi refugees – and children in particular – arrived in Syria in a state of extreme exhaustion after walking long distances in the summer heat. UNICEF said there has been a steady improvement in the conditions, since UN agencies joined forces with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), local charities, the local Kurdish Relief Committee and civil society. They began providing food, water, shelter, clothing and medicines. However, concerns remain about an outbreak of waterborne diseases in the camp.
UN Humanitarian Chief visits Iran to appeal for improved regional cooperation
On 17 August, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos visited Iran to discuss with the Iranian Government officials ways of improving regional cooperation on humanitarian assistance. During a press conference in Tehran, she stressed that Iran has a very important role to play in helping gain better access for humanitarian organizations in Syria and elsewhere in the region. She reminded that nearly 11 million people are in need throughout Syria, out of whom 4.7 million live in hard-to-reach areas. Among the main challenges facing relief operations, Ms. Amos cited insecurity, the fragmentation of armed groups and administrative obstacles imposed by the Government. “I talked about all these issues with the Ministers and, together, we are seeking ways to find solutions”, she told reporters.
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Retweet of UNRWA @UNRWA:
On #WHD2014 we recognise the heroism of colleagues in #Syria & honour 12 who lost their lives. http://goo.gl/bYYySp pic.twitter.com/ERnqeM33Wc
5:07 AM – 19 Aug 2014
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Expressing its “gravest concern” that parts of Iraq and Syria are now under the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, the UN Security Council has placed six individuals affiliated with the terrorist groups on its Al-Qaida sanctions list and threatened measures against those who finance, recruit or supply weaponsto them. In its resolution, the Council deplored and condemned in the strongest terms “the terrorist acts of ISIL and its violent extremist ideology”.
UN Radio in Arabic:
The Secretary-General welcomes the destruction of Syria’s declared chemical weapons and urges destruction of what is left of its production facilities:
The Secretary-General condemns the killing of American journalist James Foley.
Ross Mountain: The international humanitarian effort in Lebanon is largely a Lebanese effort.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
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