Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos Statement to the Media on Syria

News and Press Release
Originally published


As delivered

Good afternoon and thank you everyone.

It is now two months since Resolution 2139 was adopted. As you know, the Secretary-General presented his report to the Council last week. It makes very grim reading.

Far from getting better, the situation is getting worse.

Violence has intensified over the past month, taking a horrific toll on ordinary Syrians. In the past weekend alone, scores of women, men and children were killed and injured by bombs and mortars in both opposition- and Government-held areas of Aleppo.

I told the Council that I’m extremely concerned by the continued evidence of violations, by all parties, of the most fundamental provisions of human rights and humanitarian law.

These are not just words. We’ve all seen the appalling impact: heartrending pictures of children pulled from the rubble – and some of you will have seen today’s statement by UNICEF – and of families cowering in ruined buildings and medical teams racing to save lives under fire.

UN agencies and their partners continue to provide millions of Syrians with humanitarian assistance. Over three million children were vaccinated as part of the polio campaign in April. Food aid was dispatched for just over four million people, and nearly 17 million people got water and sanitation.

But it is not enough.

I am extremely concerned that less than ten per cent of the 242,000 people living in besieged areas received assistance in the past four weeks.

I told the Council that there has been little progress since my last briefing, and in fact I told them that each month I report on the relentless killing and maiming of civilians, the destruction of homes, schools and places of worship, the blatant disregard for life and the total disregard by all parties for the fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law.

The parties appear to be engaged in an endless spiral of targeting and harming civilians for tactical purposes.

I told the Council that in my reports I have demonstrated time and time again the minimal impact of the approach being taken so far, and that public pressure and private diplomacy has yielded very little.

I also told the Council that the UN is a multilateral organization. Its founding values set the framework for the way in which we work. In Syria, those founding values and the responsibility of a state to look after its own people are being violated every day, and I think the onus rests on the Council to not only recognize that reality, but to act on it.

Thank you very much.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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