UN official stresses need for humanitarian aid in Syria amid diplomatic efforts

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos (centre) on a visit to Homs, Syria, in March 2012. Photo: OCHA/Jutta Hinkannen

13 April 2012 – With at least a million people in need of urgent humanitarian help in Syria, the immediate priority for humanitarian organizations is to obtain unhindered access, especially to people in areas which have seen heavy fighting, the United Nations humanitarian chief said today.

“It is extremely important that negotiations to enable humanitarian organizations in Syria to deliver aid remain separate from other efforts to resolve the crisis,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, in a statement.

“It is also vital that we are able to make emergency humanitarian supplies and services available to people in a way that protects civilians and aid workers,” she added.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Yesterday, the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, said he was encouraged by reports of the cessation of hostilities in Syria, and stressed that calm must be maintained so that all parties can fully implement his six-point plan to bring violence to an end.

The six-point plan includes military provisions and a commitment to start a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Syrian people. In addition, the plan also focuses on giving humanitarian entities access to the country and releasing detainees, as well as allowing peaceful protests, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.


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