UN Humanitarian Chief calls for respect for international humanitarian law in Syria
(Damascus/New York, 14 August 2012): The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, arrived in Damascus today at the start of a three day visit to Syria and Lebanon, to see for herself the impact of the intensifying conflict and to discuss ways to increase humanitarian assistance.
Valerie Amos visited schools hosting hundreds of displaced people in the Zahera district of Damascus. She was extremely concerned by what she saw and was told. “The people I met today told me they need clean water, sanitation, medical help and food. They are frightened. Many have no home to return to and they desperately need more help and support,” said Ms. Amos.
The Government of Syria estimates that 1.2 million people have been forced to flee their homes and are living in temporary shelters or with host families.
Ms. Amos also met with Prime Minister, Wael Nader al-Halqi. In that meeting she stressed the importance of the principles of impartiality and independence that underpin humanitarian work and the need for humanitarian workers to reach all those affected by the conflict.
She called on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and its provisions, which stress the importance of protecting civilians - ordinary men, women and children - caught up in the middle of the crisis.
Ms. Amos also met with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and praised their “courageous staff and volunteers who continue to lead the humanitarian response in Syria, facing great danger and difficulty every day.”
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.