Security Council authorizes UN, partners to use most direct routes for Syria aid delivery

Members of a Syrian refugee family huddle around a stove inside their shelter in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell

14 July 2014 – In response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, the Security Council today adopted a resolution aimed at increasing access to civilians in difficult-to-reach areas by authorizing the delivery of assistance across borders and conflict lines.

By the terms of the resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the 15-member Council, United Nations humanitarian agencies and their partners are authorized to use routes across conflict lines and as well as four additional border crossings – Bab al-Salam, Bab al-Hawa, Al Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which he said will allow the delivery of aid to people in need in Syria by the most direct routes.

“At least 10.8 million people inside Syria are in urgent need of assistance. Nearly half these people are in communities that are difficult for humanitarian agencies to reach,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

“This resolution is aimed at getting aid through the four border crossings specified to nearly three million people who have not had secure food supplies or access to basic healthcare for many months.”

Mr. Ban particularly welcomed the reference in the resolution to the delivery of medical and surgical supplies, as these items have frequently been removed from aid convoys, in violation of international humanitarian law.

The resolution also decided that all Syrian parties to the ongoing conflict “shall enable the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance directly to people throughout Syria, by the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, on the basis of United Nations assessments of need and devoid of any political prejudices and aims, including by immediately removing all impediments to the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

The text comes five months after the Council adopted resolution 2139, in which it demanded unhindered humanitarian access to those in need inside Syria, where the conflict has raged for over three years.

In her most recent report on the implementation of that resolution, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos told the Council last month that relief agencies continue to face obstacles to aid delivery while the needs continue to grow and are now outpacing response efforts.

Mr. Ban, in today’s statement, called on all parties to the conflict and those with influence over them to enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need without discrimination, using all available routes.

He also called on them to lift the sieges illegally imposed by all parties on civilians; to end violations of international humanitarian law by all parties; and to ensure the safety of humanitarian staff.

Mr. Ban added that the UN will proceed immediately with putting in place the monitoring mechanism established by today’s resolution to ensure the humanitarian nature of aid convoys.

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