Syria

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos: Statement to the press, New York, 2 October 2013

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Thank you.

I welcome the statement by the President of the United Nations Security Council aimed at addressing the horrifying humanitarian situation in Syria.

My thanks to Australia and Luxembourg for sponsoring the Statement.

As the number of those dying, displaced and fleeing the country continues to rise we need the whole international community to come together to work to bring an end to this crisis.

I and my colleagues in the humanitarian and human rights fields have called many times over the past two and a half years for unhindered access to help us get aid to people in desperate need, many of whom are in areas we have not been able to reach for months.

We have called on the warring parties to protect civilians from the brutal fighting and violence - to stop targeting vital civilian services like schools, shops and hospitals, and to stop violating human rights.

We have also continued to ask for increased support to the millions of families who have fled to neighbouring countries and for the communities supporting them.

This consensus statement clearly calls on all parties to do their utmost to end the violence and stop targeting civilians.

It also reminds them that they must facilitate the swift provision of vital humanitarian aid and that there are serious consequences for violating international humanitarian and human rights law.

Our task now is to turn these strong words into meaningful action for the children, women and men who are the victims of the continued brutality and violence.

People must be able to seek safety from the violence and know that their homes, hospitals and schools are safe.

Humanitarian workers need full and sustained access to reach every person in need, wherever they are in Syria, and they must be protected to do their work safely.

If the commitments and practical steps in this statement are implemented humanitarian workers will be able reach over two million people who have been unreachable for many months.

Our operations will be faster and more effective, delivering more supplies - like lifesaving medicines, food for children, and chlorination tablets to provide clean water - to more people in need.

Winter is coming and sustained access will help us improve shelters, and provide enough bedding and clothes.

If the parties to the conflict observe the call of the united international community and meet their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, they will stop targeting innocent women, children and men, and civilian services and infrastructure – we will see fewer lives lost and fewer violations of human rights.

In the region we should see greater and more united support to those communities and Governments hosting refugees and to the refugees themselves.

We hope all Member States will take note of this clear commitment and give even more generously – a steady stream of funding will mean the humanitarian community can scale up and continue to provide the help people urgently need.

Ultimately the international community must find a lasting political solution to end the suffering of ordinary Syrians.

While the work continues to find that solution we will use the opportunity created by this statement to increase our operations in Syria and in neighbouring countries.

Thank you.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.