DPI Syria Update No. 89, 8 April 2015

UNRWA Chief warns of desperate situation in Yarmouk refugee camp
The Head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, updated the Secretary-General on 6 April on the dire situation of refugees trapped in the Yarmouk camp following an upsurge in violence. Speaking to the media at UN Headquarters via video link from Jordan, he warned that the situation of civilians inside Yarmouk was more desperate than ever.  He said that since 1 April, the camp where over 18,000 civilians have been besieged for over two years had been the scene of intense fighting and it was virtually impossible for them to leave. The UNRWA Chief also said that during his briefing to the Security Council on the same day, he called on international bodies to remain seized of the urgent situation and urged warring parties to cease all activities that put civilians in danger and allow humanitarian access. With the situation deteriorating even further, the unbearable environment must be addressed through human and political terms. “What is happening in Yarmouk is an opportunity for the international community to work together and use concerted action to influence behaviour”, he said.

UNRWA extremely alarmed at sustained hostilities, calls for safety and protection of civilians in Yarmouk
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported on 7 April that sustained armed violence continued inside the Yarmouk camp. The agency’s spokesperson said that since the outbreak of fighting on April 1st it has been unable to deliver humanitarian aid in the camp. UNRWA added that it remains greatly alarmed that sustained hostilities continue to inflict unimaginable suffering to the civilians trapped in Yarmouk, and demands that all armed groups ensure the protection of civilians and allow humanitarian access.

Security Council urges aid access to Yarmouk
Following a meeting of the Security Council on 6 April, the President of the Security Council for this month, Ms. Dina Kawar, told reporters that Council members had expressed deep concern regarding the grave situation in Yarmouk refugee camp. They condemned in the strongest terms the grave crimes committed by Daesh and Jhabat-al Nusra against 18,000 civilians trapped in the camp. The fifteen members of the Council called for the protection of civilians in the camp and to allow humanitarian access to the area, including by providing life-saving assistance, as well as to ensure safe passage and evacuation of civilians. “The Council will look into further measures that can be taken to help in providing the necessary protection and assistance”, she noted.

UN supports any effort to restart political dialogue – UN spokesperson
In response to a media question regarding the third round of inter-Syrian dialogue which began in Moscow on 6 April, the UN spokesperson said that a representative of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria was attending the talks. “We welcome any effort to restart the political dialogue”, he noted.

Syrian journalist winner of UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced on 3 April that Syrian journalist and human rights activist Mazen Darwish won the 2015 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

Darwish, a lawyer and press freedom advocate currently imprisoned, is the president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, founded in 2004, and one of the founders of the Voice newspaper and syriaview.net, an independent news site banned by the Syrian authorities. Darwish has been detained since February 2012, when he was arrested with two other journalists. The Prize will be awarded on 3 May during a ceremony to celebrate World Press Freedom Day in Riga, Latvia.

UN Twitter
FAO Newsroom‏@FAOnews: #Syria: 50% of livestock have been lost & the cereal harvest has dropped by half since 2011 http://ow.ly/LkDAm  #Syriacrisis – April 7

UNICEF ‏@UNICEF: 64 schools in #Syria have been attacked, 1 in 5 destroyed & can’t be used by #childrenofsyria, via @UNICEF_Lebanon- April 6

UNICEF: https://www.facebook.com/unicef “I’m not studying right now, I would love the opportunity to continue my education. But to be honest I am worried I won’t get the chance. This might be it.” Back in Syria, Amy, 18, was in her final year of school and about to embark on a degree in pharmacy. She now lives in a refugee camp in Erbil, in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq. Thanks to UNHCR for sharing her story: http://uni.cf/1y9dQo6 Photo: UNHCR/B.Ahmed- April 6

UNDP: Even trapped inside war, we still need jobs so we can pay for essentials. And even in war, we still need warm shoes. Abdul, a person living with disability in Syria was trained in our shoe making workshop. He can now provide for himself and his family by sewing shoes which are distributed to Syrians arriving in Al-Kotayfa Rif, Damascus from the front lines. Photo: UNDP Syria |‪#‎SyriaCrisis | ‪#‎WhatDoesItTake- April 6

UN Radio in Arabic
أعضاء مجلس الأمن يدينون جرائم داعش وجبهة النصرة في مخيم اليرموك
Members of the Security Council condemn the crimes of ISIS and Alnusra Front in the Yarmouk refugee camp

بيير كرينبول يدعو المجتمع الدولي إلى تنسيق العمل من أجل وضع حد لمعاناة سكان اليرموك
Pierre Krähenbühl calls on the international community to coordinate the work in order to put an end to the suffering of the population of Yarmouk

أنغيلا كين: انضمام سوريا إلى اتفاقية الأسلحة الكيميائية كان نتيجة إيجابية واحدة من الصراع الدموي
Angela Kane says: Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention was one positive result of the bloody conflict

الصحفي السوري مازن درويش يفوز بجائزة اليونسكو “غييرمو كانو” العالمية لحرية الصحافة
Syrian journalist Mazen Darwish wins UNESCO “Guillermo Cano” award for World Press Freedom

لأونروا تطالب بحماية المدنيين في اليرموك وضمان سلامتهم
UNRWA calls for the protection of civilians in the Yarmouk Camp and ensure their safety

الأونروا تحذر من عواقب استمرار الوضع الحالي في مخيم اليرموك
UNRWA warns of the consequences of the continuation of the current situation in the Yarmouk camp

Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria

DPI Focus Page on Syria:

UN humanitarian agencies:
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/media/index.html
WFP: http://www.wfp.org/countries/syria
OCHA: http:/unocha.org/syria , twitter.com/ocha_syria , facebook.com/UNOCHA.Syria
WHO: http://www.who.int/countries/syr/en/
UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4f86c2426.html
OHCHR: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/NewsSearch.aspx?CID=SY
UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/

UN on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UN
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/unitednations
Tumblr: http://united-nations.tumblr.com/

Photo galleries:
UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c25d.html
UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/photogallery.php
OCHA: http://www.unocha.org/media-resources/photo-gallery
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/photography/photo_2013.php#UNI82253
IRIN: http://www.irinnews.org/photo/