A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information
UN official highlights challenges of humanitarian operations in Syria
Addressing the media in Geneva on 30 August, a United Nations spokesperson highlighted the challenging working environment in which UN humanitarian agencies are operating within Syria and flagged that aid is being delivered to all those who need it, regardless of their affiliation and where they live. “From the planning process to the actual response, we are guided by our determination to assist people affected by this terrible crisis in accordance with core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence,” OCHA Deputy Spokesperson Jens Laerke told a news briefing in the UN Office in Geneva in response to claims made in the UK newspaper, The Guardian.www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54797#
UN aid chief extremely concerned over evacuation of Syrian town of Darayya, cites need for compliance with humanitarian law
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien has expressed extreme concern over the recent evacuation of the entire population of the besieged Syrian town of Darayya, following an agreement between representatives of Darayya and the Syrian Government – and highlighted how the move does not comply with international law. “The UN was not a party to this agreement, and was not informed of the evacuation until a few hours before it took place,” he said in a statement. He said the evacuation should not be precedent setting for other besieged areas in Syria, and that those displaced are allowed to return voluntarily, in safety and in dignity, to their homes as soon as the situation allows it. Similarly, on 25 August, UN Special Envoy de Mistura said in a statement that it is imperative that people of Darayya are protected in any evacuation that takes place, and [that this] takes place voluntarily. He strongly appealed to the Co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group and co-sponsors of the cessation of hostilities and other Support Group members to ensure that the implementation of this agreement and its aftermath was in full compliance with international humanitarian law and protection standards.
Syrian forces and ISIL used toxic chemicals as weapons, says the report of the Joint Investigative Mechanism
The Syrian Airforce and ISIL used toxic chemicals as weapons, according to a new report issued on 30 August by an “independent, impartial, and objective” Leadership Panel, mandated by the UN Security Council. The so-called Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), led by a three-person Leadership Panel (Virginia Gamba, Adrian Neritani, Eberhard Schanze), examined nine cases of previously-documented chemical weapons use to establish who was responsible for using them. The Panel found what it described as “sufficient evidence” of three cases of chemical weapons use – two chlorine gas attacks on civilians by the Syrian air force, and another use of “sulphur-mustard” gas by the terrorist group ISIL, or Daesh – in Syria between 2014 and 2015.
US admits more than 10,000 Syrian refugees in fiscal 2016 – IOM
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has helped resettle more than 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States during the year ending 30 September, without compromising the integrity and security of the processing mechanism. As of 29 August, 10,172 Syrian refugees were admitted in the United States as part of the Obama administration’s promise to increase the number of Syrian refugee admissions by 30 September, according to a news release issued by the IOM. In July this year, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution approving an agreement to make the IOM part of the UN system as a related organization.
UN envoy ‘greatly regrets’ intensification of fighting in Syria
Regretting the intensified fighting and grave humanitarian situation in Syria, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, reiterated the need for a political solution to the conflict there, according to his spokesperson Jessy Chahine. “A political process and a political solution are the only way out of the crisis,” the Special Envoy’s spokesperson told a news briefing in Geneva on 30 August. “The Special Envoy was determined to carry forward the political track and continues actively to consider options for early action.”
UN envoy urges all sides to quickly agree truce to ease suffering in Aleppo
Stressing that “time is of the essence” amid the increasingly dire situation in Aleppo, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria on 27 August called for all sides in the conflict to agree by 28 August on allowing aid delivery and repairs for the war-ravaged city’s power and water systems to provide some relief for the nearly two million people trapped there. “The UN is ready to move. People are suffering and need assistance. Time is of the essence. All must put the civilian population of Aleppo first and exert their influence now,” underscored Staffan de Mistura in a statement issued by his Office, which reiterated the UN’s longstanding call for 48-hour weekly humanitarian pause in Aleppo.
Anthony Lake: Immediate pause needed in Aleppo, every second counts in protecting children
“Today is another sad and dangerous day for the children in Syria, in particular those living in Aleppo. Every child there – everyone affected – needs an immediate pause to the fighting in Aleppo, and every second of every minute counts when it comes to protecting and saving the lives of children. UNICEF continues to be at the ready to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance, including medicines, vaccines and nutritional supplements. And we are standing by to support the assessment and repair of vital electricity and water facilities to provide safe drinking water to people all over Aleppo.
UN teams bring aid to besieged Syrian people despite extreme challenges
In the first full, completed, cross-line delivery via road in August, inter-agency convoys have reached some 75,000 people in al-Waer in Syria’s Homs province with life-saving humanitarian assistance, the United Nations humanitarian arm has reported. “While [we welcomed] convoy, the level of access to besieged areas in August was wholly unacceptable,” Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the UN Information Service said, on behalf of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in Geneva on 26 August. “Much more progress [is] required to reach all besieged and hard-to-reach areas considering the very high level of needs. [We continue] to call for unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to the millions of people in besieged and hard-to-reach locations across Syria,” she stressed. The humanitarian delivery, undertaken through two convoys on 23 and 25 August, comprised of food, health, nutrition and non-food items for populations in the besieged town al-Waer.
Aid convoys ‘ready’ to enter Aleppo; UN envoys await Russia-US talks on truce
Reporting that the Russian Federation is backing a 48-hour humanitarian pause in and around Aleppo, senior United Nations envoys on the Syrian crisis on 25 August said they were “waiting for others on the ground to do the same,” and are ready to green light aid convoys to the war-ravaged city once assurances are received. In a press stakeout, Mr. de Mistura explained that Russia had already pledged support for the 48-hour pause, and humanitarian convoys were waiting for all the others to “do the same.’ Also speaking at the stakeout was UN Senior Advisor, Jan Egeland, who outlined the Aleppo emergency response plan’s three elements: first, sending two convoys of 20 trucks each that would carry enough food for 80,000 people in eastern Aleppo via the Castello Road, the safest and most direct route.
Humanitarian workers the backbone of UNRWA work in Syria
As the war continues for the sixth year in Syria, front-line humanitarian workers risk their own lives to save others and alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable. Dr. Sana’a Mahmoud Ayoub, a health worker with UNRWA, explained, “Every morning when I arrive at work, I feel blessed because I can make a difference and help people who are in a greater need.”
Summer learning: Preparing the displaced children of Syria to return to the classroom
On a hot July morning, Mohammad-Raddi Henawi stands at the whiteboard at the front of the classroom of Al-Neirabeen School, working on a math equation. He is one of the thousands of displaced Palestine refugee children attending the UNRWA summer learning programme that prepares students to resume their schooling in the fall.
UN Radio in Arabic
Secretary-General delivers report of investigative mechanism on use of chemical weapons in Syria to the Security Council
الأمين العام يسلم تقرير آلية التحقيق بشأن استخدام السلاح الكيميائي في سوريا إلى مجلس الأمن
WHO: health care facilities being targeted daily in Syria
منظمة الصحة العالمية: مرافق الرعاية الصحية تستهدف يوميا في سوريا
United Nations stands ready to deliver aid to Aleppo
الأمم المتحدة تؤكد استعدادها لتوصيل المساعدات إلى حلب
Children of Syrian refugees: we miss home, it covers all we miss
أطفال سوريا اللاجئون: نفتقد الوطن، فهو حاضن لكل من نشتاق إليهم
United Nations: the situation in Darya extremely dangerous
الأمم المتحدة: الوضع في داريا خطير للغاية
Humanitarian convoy reaches 40,000 people in the Al-Waer district in Homs
وصول قافلة إنسانية إلى 40 ألف شخص في حي الوعر في حمص
Love combines a Somali and a Syrian refugee
الحب يجمع بين لاجئة صومالية ولاجئ سوري
Anthony Lake: urgent need to temporarily stop the fighting in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons
أنتوني ليك: حاجة ماسة لوقف القتال مؤقتاً في حلب لأسباب إنسانية
More than 7,000 people saved in Mediterranean Sea in 48 hours
إنقاذ أكثر من 7000 شخص من البحر الأبيض المتوسط في 48 ساعة
UN report indicates that the Syrian air force and ISIS fighters responsible for three chemical weapons attacks at least
تقرير أممي يشير إلى أن القوات الجوية السورية ومقاتلو داعش مسؤولون عن ثلاث هجمات كيماوية على الأقل
55 school buildings have been made available by Syrian government for use by Palestine refugee children #Back2School
In order to continue the UNRWA education programme, 55 school buildings have been made available by the Syrian government for use by Palestine refugee children.
UNRWA students are going back to school in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza.
Going back to school is made possible through the support of generous donors like the European Union, who help ensure that UNRWA is able to go beyond the front lines in delivering education to Palestine refugees.
© UNRWA 2014. Photo by Fadi Thabet.
Social media campaigns
@ShareTheMeal: In April 2016, the World Food Programme launched its phone application to support fundraising efforts for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. ShareTheMeal’s fundraising aims to support 1,400 refugee children aged 3–4 in Beirut for a full year. Through the app, smartphone users can join thousands of other people in making donations and support a selected community and monitor progress. Since November 2015, the app has been available globally and has received several awards for its design and innovative character.
#ActofHumanity: UNICEF launched in March 2016 a series of animated films entitled “Unfairy Tales” to help frame positive perceptions towards the millions of children and young people on the move globally. The Unfairy Tales are part of an initiative, #actofhumanity, emphasising that every child has rights and deserves a fair chance.
UNICEF will engage audiences through the hashtag #actofhumanity to share stories about refugees and migrant children.
#RememberUs – #Syria5Years is an advocacy and fundraising campaign to tell the story of Palestine refugees in Syria after five years of armed conflict. In the last five years, the Palestine refugees of Syria have been experiencing tremendous hardship with over 60 per cent of the 560,000 registered with UNRWA displaced throughout Syria and further afield. Through the campaign, UNRWA remembers the victims to the Syrian conflict, in particular the Palestine refugees, many of whom have lost their communities, family members, houses and livelihoods. To date, 16 UNRWA staff members have lost their lives in the armed conflict in Syria. This is the largest death toll for any single United Nations agency working in Syria.
#MyVoiceMySchool- #Myvoicemyschool, running for a second year, is an educational project linking Palestine refugee youth in Syria with their peers in England and Belgium.
Through live video conversations and customized teaching materials, students and teachers explore how education can help them meet their future aspirations.
#IamSyrian is a global engagement campaign on social media launched by the World Food Programme (WFP) at the London Syria conference in February 2016. It offers global citizens the opportunity to show solidarity with the Syrian people by sharing their stories, sending messages of support and demonstrating how the world continues to care about their plight. The campaign will culminate in an exhibition at the UN General Assembly in September 2016.
#Unite4Heritage is a global movement run by UNESCO that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world. Launched in response to the unprecedented attacks on world heritage sites, the campaign calls on everyone to stand up against extremism and radicalization by celebrating the places, objects and cultural traditions that make the world such a rich and vibrant place.