Help end "siege and starvation as a weapon of war" Council members urged

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A humanitarian convoy on its way to the besieged Syrian town of Madaya. File Photo: OCHA Syria

Help end "siege and starvation as a weapon of war" in the Syria conflict.

That was the impassioned plea from UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien, to members of the Security Council on Wednesday.

He asked Council members with influence on the warring parties, to intervene.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

Mr O'Brien said that as the brutal civil war in Syria approaches its sixth year, now was the time for Council members with influence on both the government and opposition groups, to find ways to save civilian lives.

He said that the starving people of Madaya, who became a symbol earlier this month of the scale of human suffering brought on by the use of siege tactics in the conflict, were just the "tip of the iceberg".

"The continued use of siege and starvation as a weapon of war is reprehensible. The Secretary-General has said that such tactics can constitute a war crime, it must stop immediately. The primary responsibility lies with the party who maintains the siege, however other parties that conduct military activities in or from populated areas, also bear their share of responsibility for the immense suffering in besieged areas and those of you with influence on the parties, can demand it stops. I ask you to do so."

Mr O'Brien said the Syrian government's record on allowing UN aid convoys to reach the hungry, was "pitiful."

The Executive Director of the World Food Programme, also briefed the Security Council and said that it was the members' responsibility to ensure that "decisions and choices made in this chamber, become reality on the ground."

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

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