A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information
At a press conference at UN Headquarters on 14 September, the Secretary-General welcomed the reinstatement of the cessation of hostilities and stressed that the United Nations was positioned to use this critical opportunity to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo as well as to other hard-to-reach and besieged areas across Syria. Mr. Ban called on countries with influence to work towards a political solution. “It is essential that intra-Syrian negotiations resume so that Syria’s long-suffering people feel a real change in their daily lives. Major countries with influence have a duty to use their influence and seize this latest opportunity to pursue a political solution to end this catastrophic conflict”, he added.
Significant decrease in violence since the start of cessation of hostilities, UN Special Envoy
There has been a significant drop in violence in the 24 hours following the start of the cessation of hostilities in Syria, Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva on 13 September. “Today, calm appears to have prevailed across Hama, Latakia, Aleppo city, rural Aleppo and Idlib with only allegations of sporadic and geographically isolated incidents”, he said. On humanitarian assistance, the Envoy noted that the World Food Programme (WFP) was ready with 20 trucks to deliver aid. He added that if the cessation of hostilities holds, “people will be seeing a reduction of violence and an increase of humanitarian aid, in other words no bombs and more trucks”. Mr. de Mistura said, however, that authorization letters from the Syrian government were needed in order for the aid convoy to start deliveries.
UN Human Rights Chief speaks out against human rights violations in Syria
In remarks at the opening of the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 13 September, High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein condemned the Syrian government for human rights violations. “This is a State led by a medical doctor and yet is believed to have gassed its own people; has attacked hospitals and bombed civilian neighbourhoods with indiscriminate explosive weapons; and maintains tens of thousands of detainees in inhuman conditions”, he stated. The Human Rights Chief also lamented that despite numerous requests, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria had not been granted access to the country since the crisis began in 2011.
UNHCR Special Envoy renews call for political solution
Following a visit to the Asraq refugee camp in Jordan on 9 September, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt urged once again the international community to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. ”For all the good intentions, extraordinary efforts in the field, and the generosity of host communities, it is impossible to say that we, as an international community, are using all the tools at our disposal, or that we have even come close to doing enough to help the Syrian people”, she noted. Ahead of the UN General Assembly, she called on world leaders to put the root causes of the conflict in Syria at the centre of their discussions.
UN welcomes Russia-US agreement on cessation of hostilities
The United Nations welcomed the understanding announced on 10 September by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the US Secretary of State John Kerry on reinstating the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria so that the parties can return to talks with humanitarian access delivered. In a statement issued on the same day, Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura also welcomed the fact that Russia and the United States were prepared to work together to defeat Da’esh and Al Nusra front. “The United Nations hopes that the political will that led to this understanding is sustained. It creates a real window of opportunity which all relevant actors in the region and beyond should seize to put the crisis in Syria on a different path and ease the violence and suffering being endured by the Syrian people”, he stressed.
European Union funds cash assistance through WFP for Syrian refugees in Turkey
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin hailed on 8 September a cash transfer programme by the European Union to assist Syrian refugees in Turkey. “This €348 million will make a major difference to the lives of one million people. It will lessen the suffering but also restore some normality to children, women and men whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict and displacement”, she said. “This partnership with the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department shows what can be achieved when we all pull together. WFP and the Turkish Red Crescent will use their combined expertise to deliver European cash directly to those who need it most”, Mr. Cousin added.
UN Radio in Arabic
Special Envoy de Mistura says situation has greatly improved a day after the start of a truce
دي مستورا: خلال أول يوم الهدنة، الوضع تحسن بشكل كبير ولكن هناك بعض الخروقات
Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein strongly criticizes Member States denying entry to human rights observers
زيد رعد الحسين ينتقد بشدة الدول الأعضاء التي ترفض دخول المراقبين الأمميين لأراضيها
Angelina Jolie calls on world leaders to put the root causes of Syria conflict at the heart of their discussions at the General Assembly
أنجيلينا جولي تدعو قادة العالم إلى وضع الأسباب الجذرية للصراع السوري في قلب مناقشاتهم بالجمعية العامة
The United Nations welcomes the Russian-American agreement about cessation of hostilities in Syria
الأمم المتحدة ترحب بتفاهم أميركي روسي حول إعادة تطبيق وقف العدائيات في سوريا
United Nations Retweeted
UN News Centre @UN_News_Centre – 13 September
http://bit.ly/2clREOd 24 hrs into truce, UN Syrian envoy sees improvement, aid delivery pending govt say
Filippo Grandi @RefugeesChief – 10 September
In #Syria, cessation of hostilities must start & last. We owe it to millions of trapped civilians & exiled refugees.
United Nations Retweeted
Stephen O’Brien @UNReliefChief – 10 September
Welcome this news. #UN and our humanitarian partners ready to deliver aid to millions of #Syrians in desperate need
UNHCRJordan @UNHCRJo – 9 September
Full statement from Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt from #AzraqCamp today: http://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2016/9/57d2df9e4/press-statement-unhcr-special-envoy-ms-angelina-jolie-pitt.html …
UN Spokesperson @UN_Spokesperson -9 September
@UN #Syria Envoy welcomes US/Russia understanding on cessation of hostilities. Read full statement here: http://bit.ly/2chUZx8
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.