DPI Syria Update No. 92, 29 April 2015

Secretary-General strongly condemns aerial attack on Yarmouk camp
In a statement on 29 April, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the shelling and aerial bombardment of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus on 28 April despite assurances from the Syrian Government that the camp would not be attacked while civilians remained inside. The Secretary-General urged the Government to immediately end any military operation that could endanger the lives of civilians in Yarmouk and abide strictly by its obligations under international law to protect civilians. He also called on all parties to stop the violence so as to grant secure and sustained humanitarian access to civilians inside the camp.

Top UN humanitarian officials brief the Security Council on Syria
As the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen across Syria, UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos briefed the Security Council on 24 April, recalling that over 220,000 people had been killed in the conflict and over 7.6 million had been displaced and four million people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. “People have become numb to figures that should shock our collective conscience”, she said. Ms. Amos reiterated that there was no humanitarian solution to the crisis and that only political dialogue could help bring an end to the violence in Syria. She urged the Security Council to demand a cessation of attacks on schools and medical facilities, to mandate a fact-finding mission on these attacks, to authorize the negotiation of humanitarian pauses as well as to send perpetrators a clear message that their crimes will not go unpunished. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt, along with World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, joined Ms. Amos in briefing the Council. In his remarks, High Commissioner Guterres warned that the regional spillover effects of the conflict were taking dramatic proportions. “Fourteen million people are now displaced due to the interlinked crises in Syria and Iraq. As a result, we have been observing a steady deterioration in the protection space for Syrians trying to escape the conflict,” Guterres said.

Security Council demands broader humanitarian access across Syria
Following its briefing on Syria, the Security Council issued a press statement demanding that all parties to the conflict immediately facilitate the expansion of humanitarian operations as well as aid access in hard-to-reach areas, across borders and conflict lines. In the statement, Council members expressed alarm that the Syrian crisis had become the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today. 

UN-mediated peace talks set to resume in May in Geneva
The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, updated the Security Council on 24 April on his latest diplomatic efforts to reconvene the Geneva talks. Meanwhile, the UN Office in Geneva announced that individual delegations would start meeting the first week of May with a view to taking stock of their positions on the 2012 Geneva communiqué. UNOG added that invitations had been sent out to Syrian representatives as well as to regional and international actors.

UNICEF launches “Chime for the Children of Syria” campaign
Following a visit to Syrian refugees in Lebanon on 25 April, UNICEF supporter and “Chime for Change” campaign co-founder Salma Hayek helped launch CHIME for the Children of Syria, a fundraising appeal to support children and families affected by the Syria conflict. Across the region, UNICEF estimates that 14 million children have been affected, including 2.6 million children who are no longer in school, and close to two million who are living as refugees in neighboring countries. “Millions of children have been robbed of their childhood, their country and have lost their loved ones. As a result of the conflict in Syria, they are missing out on their education and are having to work to provide for their families,” said Hayek.

Security Council must match scale of Syria crisis with bold response – relief officials http://bit.ly/1KdDUQi

Syria: We need the numbness to senseless violence & apparent apathy to end – @ValerieAmos to Security Council: http://j.mp/1JCbzCh


“We have an inescapable duty to help @refugees.” Angelina Jolie to Security Council on Syria crisis. Video: http://j.mp/1d9Fqbu


Watch now: @Refugees Envoy Angelina Jolie addresses Security Council on Syria crisis http://bit.ly/1aY7QDB


Watch now: Aid briefing on Syria by @ValerieAmos @WFPErtharin & @Refugees’ António Guterres & Envoy Angelina Jolie http://bit.ly/1aY7QDB


“The crisis in Syria illustrates that our inability to find diplomatic solutions causes mass displacement, and traps millions of people in exile, statelessness, and displacement. 52 million people are forcibly displaced today – a sea of excluded humanity.”

Angelina Jolie Pitt, UNHCR Special Envoy for Refugee Issues, spoke at the UN Security Council today.

Angelina Jolie Pitt, #UnitedNations Special Envoy for Refugees, addresses the #UN Security Council on the continuing conflict in #Syria and the humanitarian and refugee crises.

Ms. Jolie Pitt, who has made 11 visits to Syrian #refugees in #Iraq, #Jordan, #Lebanon, Turkey and Malta since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, urged political will and action to resolve the crisis. “I wish that some of the Syrians I met could be here today, I think of the mother I met recently in a refugee camp in Iraq. She could tell you what it is like to try to live after your young daughter was ripped from your family by armed men and taken as a sex slave,” she said. “We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world’s ability to protect and defend the innocent.” Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten
#UNHCR #UNOCHA #WFP #SyriaCrisis #IraqCrisis #AngelinaJolie #AngelinaJoliePitt

UN Radio in Arabic
Salma Hayek visits Syrian children in Lebanon

Consultations in Geneva in early May to revive the political process in Syria


Security Council members urge all parties in Syria to participate in the Geneva consultations


UNICEF tries to vaccinate more than 2.6 million Syrian children against measles


Security Council demands that Syrian parties put an end to violence


Angelina Jolie presents three appeals to the Security Council on behalf of the Syrian refugees


Amos calls for a ban on arms and specific sanctions in Syria

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/