Syria: Ban warns against targeting civilians after armed groups cut water supplies in Aleppo

Syrian children stand in the entryway of their tent shelter in the Bab Al Salame camp for internally displaced persons in Aleppo Governate. Photo: UNICEF/Giovanni Diffidenti

17 May 2014 – Following reports that armed groups cut water supplies in Syria's flashpoint town of Aleppo, leaving at least 2.5 million people with no access to safe water for drinking and sanitation for days, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that such deliberate targeting of civilians is a “clear breach” of international law.

A statement issued yesterday evening by a UN spokesperson in New York said Mr. Ban is concerned by reports that water supplies in the city of Aleppo were deliberately cut off by armed groups for eight days.

“The Secretary-General notes that preventing people's access to safe water is a denial of a fundamental human right,” said the statement, adding that deliberate targeting of civilians and depriving them of essential supplies is a clear breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.

While water supplies have since been restored, the Secretary-General, according to the statement, urged all parties to ensure that the water supply in Aleppo - and everywhere in Syria - is permanently restored and to refrain from targeting civilian facilities and infrastructure.

“He asks Member States and those with influence over all the parties to the conflict to remind them of their obligations,” said the statement.


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