Tag Archives: Syria

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Syria Board of Inquiry

The Secretary-General has decided to establish an internal United Nations Board of Inquiry to investigate the incident involving a United Nations – Syrian Arab Red Crescent relief operation to Urum al-Kubra, Syria, on 19 September 2016. 

In the evening of 19 September, as 31 trucks delivered lifesaving assistance in Urum al-Kubra, a few kilometres west of Aleppo city, humanitarians came under fire. At least 18 people, including the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Urum al-Kubra, were killed.  The warehouse where supplies were being unloaded, as well as a nearby medical clinic, were also severely damaged. 

The Board of Inquiry will ascertain the facts of the incident and report to the Secretary-General upon the completion of its work. The Secretary-General will review the report and decide what further steps to take. 

The Secretary-General urges all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Board. 

New York, 30 September 2016

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Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Aleppo

The Secretary-General is appalled by the chilling military escalation in the city of Aleppo, which is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict.

Since the announcement two days ago by the Syrian Army of an offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, there have been repeated reports of airstrikes involving the use of incendiary weapons and advanced munitions such as bunker buster bombs. The Secretary-General underlines that the apparent systematic use of these types of indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas may amount to war crimes.

The Secretary-General considers this a dark day for the global commitment to protect civilians. The international community has to unite to send a clear message that it will not tolerate the use of indiscriminate and ever more deadly and powerful weapons against civilians.

New York, 24 September 2016

UN Secretary-General Remarks To The Security Council On The Situation In Syria

New York, 21 September 2016
[as delivered]

I thank Prime Minister Key for organizing this very important meeting.

The Syrian tragedy shames us all. The collective failure of the international community should haunt every member of this Council.

Well over 300,000 Syrians have been killed, half of the country’s population has been uprooted, and much of its infrastructure lies in ruins.

Race-baiting Bigots Must Be Confronted, Zeid Tells UN Summit

HC_migrant_summit

NEW YORK / GENEVA (19 September 2016)In many countries, defenders of moral values are being outflanked by race-baiting bigots, who seek to gain power by wielding prejudice and deceit at the expense of the most vulnerable, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told Monday’s UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York.

Full text of speech:
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Distinguished presidents,  Secretary-General,  Excellencies, This should not be a comfortable summit. While the leadership of the Secretary-General, and his fine report, should be acknowledged by all – as well as the admirable efforts by Ireland and Jordan to achieve political consensus – this summit cannot be reduced to speeches and feel-good interviews, a dash of self-congratulation and we move on.

Note to Correspondents – Transcript of Joint Stakeout by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura and UN Senior Adviser,  Mr. Jan Egeland

Geneva, 15 September 2016

SdeM: Sorry for changing hours but you can imagine there have been a lot of internal discussions and there has been a lot verification with the field as well.  So I will say a few words then as usual give the floor to Jan Egeland and we will be taking some questions.

Let me start by saying that the Russian-American, American-Russian agreement last Friday is and remains, and is indeed, potentially a game-changer, on three areas, three areas, let me remind ourselves about them so we can go through them.

The first one is the reduction of violence – talking about cessation of hostilities perhaps is an ambitious word after a war of five years, but reduction of violence, yes.  The reduction of violence, and you will be having further reports we will get after we verify today, is by and large frankly holding, in fact it has been substantial.

Second point, the second dividend of the Russian-American, American-Russian agreement was and remains humanitarian access, that is what makes the difference for the people, apart from seeing no more bombs or mortar shelling taking place.  On that one, we have a problem and let me explain where and then will go to more details.

Set differences aside and end ‘humanitarian shame’ in Syria, UN aid chief tells Security Council

 

22 August 2016 – Stressing the need for a 48-hour pause to the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the United Nations humanitarian chief today urged the United States and Russia to rapidly reach agreement on the security guarantees and operational modalities for a ceasefire there so aid workers can deliver life-saving assistance to those in desperate need.

“I’m not going to pretend – I’m angry, very angry” about what is happening in Aleppo today and throughout Syria over the last five years, said Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in his briefing to the Security Council.

“This callous carnage that is Syria has long since moved from the cynical, to the sinful,” he said, warning that it is the failure of politics and the 15-member Council.

“So please: now is the moment, this instant, to put differences aside, come together as one, and stop this humanitarian shame upon us all, once and for all,” he told Council members.

Note to Correspondents – Transcript Of The Press Stake-Out by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura Following the Security Council Meeting

New York, 29 June 2016

Good afternoon.  683963

You already heard [from] the Chairman of the Council, the Ambassador of France. Let me first summarize what we did and then of course I will take questions.

The first point was that we all remembered with sadness and horror the terrorist attack in Istanbul. It was a reminder to everyone in the Council that fighting terrorism is a priority and should be considered constantly a priority. We should not forget that aspect. However, winning – not only fighting – terrorism in Syria and Iraq too, but particularly in Syria, would require a political transition because that’s the way through which we take away the water from those who are swimming in the terrorist environment.

The second point that came up marginally but it’s an important point was the fact that today 18 towns have been reached amongst the besieged cities. And for those of you who have been following up all the different attempts to reach all the besieged areas [will know] it’s quite a landmark. It’s not enough. We’re not reaching them as much as we want. We are not reaching everywhere but if you think about what was last year [compared to] today, 18 of the 18 towns besieged were reached.  

‘Medieval’ Sieges, Barrel Bombs are ‘Disgusting Reality’ in Syria – Senior UN officials

23 June 2016

The recent “stuttering momentum” in delivering humanitarian aid to Syria’s 682689Obrienbesieged and hard-to-reach populations must be significantly expanded in the second half of 2016, the United Nations humanitarian chief told the Security Council today, warning that progress made to date was only “a trickle” of the country’s overwhelming needs.

“There is something fundamentally wrong in a world where attacks on hospitals and schools […] have become so commonplace that they cease to incite any reaction,” said Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, in a briefing to the 15-member body.

UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria: ISIS is Committing Genocide Against the Yazidis

GENEVA (16 June 2016) – The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is committing genocide against Yazidis, according to a report, “They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”, issued today by the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. The report by the Commission of Inquiry also determined that ISIS’s abuse of Yazidis amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Genocide has occurred and is ongoing”, emphasised Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission. “ISIS has subjected every Yazidi woman, child or man that it has captured to the most horrific of atrocities.”

United Nations Secretary General Press Conference – Content of report on conflict-affected children ‘will not change,’ asserts Ban

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sspeaks to the Media at Security Council stakeout on a wide range of topics

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sspeaks to the Media at Security Council stakeout on a wide range of topics 

9 June 2016 – Standing by his decision to remove the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen from his latest report on conflict-affected children, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said it was one of the most ‘painful and difficult decisions’ he has ever had to make, and that it is ‘unacceptable’ for Member States to exert undue pressure as scrutiny is necessary part of the work of the UN.

“The report describes horrors no child should have to face,” said Mr. Ban speaking to the press outside of the UN Security Council chamber, where he acknowledged that the “fierce reaction to my decision to temporarily remove the Saudi-led Coalition countries from the report’s annex.”

“At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would de-fund many UN programmes. Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and so many other places would fall further into despair,” he stressed.

Insisting that he stands by the report, the UN chief added that the Organization “will assess the complaints that have been made, but the content will not change.”

“I fully understand the criticism, but I would also like to make a larger point that speaks to many political challenges we face. When UN peacekeepers come under physical attack, they deserve strong backing by the Security Council,” he stated. “When UN personnel are declared persona non grata simply for carrying out their jobs, they should be able to count on firm support from the Member States,” he said.

Mr. Ban also underlined that when a UN report comes “under fire” for raising difficult issues or documenting violations of law or human rights, Member States should defend the mechanisms and mandates that they themselves have established.

“As the Secretariat carries forward the work that is entrusted to us, I count on Member States to work constructively and maintain their commitment to the cause of this Organization,” he told reporters.