UN / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN

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13-Dec-2018 00:03:45
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution renewing the authorization for cross-border aid deliveries into Syria, which was described by the UN humanitarian chief as a critical lifeline for millions of people. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN
TRT: 3:45
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 DECEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

13 DECEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY

2. Med shot, Lowcock speaking to Dutch Foreign Minister
3. Wide shot, Kuwaiti diplomat speaking to Swedish delegation
4. Med shot, Ivorian ambassador putting resolution to vote
5. Pan left, members of Security Council voting in favour of resolution
6. Med shot, Ivorian ambassador
7. Pan left, Russian and Chinese ambassadors abstaining
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“Idlib remains on the edge of a humanitarian disaster. Should there be a further escalation of violence, the needs would quickly overwhelm the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond. The parties to the conflict must take care to spare the civilian population, while at the same time taking all possible measures to see that the violence in Idlib ends, and that the humanitarian catastrophe the Secretary-General has warned of does not come to pass.”
9. Med shot, Swedish ambassador
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“A key priority has been addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in locations that have seen shifts in control. Some 1.6 million people live in areas that have changed control since the beginning of the year. Some areas have suffered for years under siege, have been impacted by intense military activity prior to changing control, or have seen no resumption of basic services since changing control.”
11. Wide shot, Security Council
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:
“Some of the darkest crimes of modern times have taken place during the Syrian conflict, and they are still taking place. There will be no stability until the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice. To me it's clear, accountability is about upholding our human dignity. But what we see is impunity becoming the new normal, and this must end. We must not allow this immense human tragedy to become a travesty of international law. It would be a terrible crisis of credibility for the international community.”
13. Med shot, Syrian ambassador
14. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“We need to urgently decide two issues critical to improving the situation in Syria. First, immediately lifting the unilateral sanctions introduced by some states. These restrictions are damaging, first and foremost, for the ordinary Syrians; and by the way this is something that is accepted by independent experts including UN experts. Secondly, we need to end the illegal occupation of Syrian territories. It undermines the sovereignty of the country and also strengthens the separatist trends in the country. This is a threat for the national security of neighbouring states.”
15. Wide shot, Russian ambassador addressing Security Council
16. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bashar Jaafari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“The UN monitoring mechanism cannot, rather it is incapable of verifying that deliveries of cross-border assistance are reaching the beneficiaries until this very day as the majority of these operations are carried out across the Syrian-Turkish border and are directed to the areas under the control of the armed terrorist groups which confiscate this aid and distribute it to their members and their families, as what happened in Al Tanf.”
17. Wide shot, Syrian ambassador addressing Security Council
18. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bashar Jaafari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations:
“My Government is adamant, now more than ever, to fight the remnants of armed terrorist groups, in Idlib and elsewhere. It is also adamant to exercise its legal right of self-defence and expel all foreign occupying forces which illegally entered our country.”
19. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution renewing the authorization for cross-border aid deliveries into Syria, which was described by the UN humanitarian chief as a critical lifeline for millions of people.

The Council adopted resolution 2449 to extend the authorization for an additional 12 months with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions, Russia and China. Addressing the Council following the vote, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock welcomed the decision adding that cross-border aid provides a critical lifeline for millions of Syrians who cannot be supported through other means.

Lowcock said the situation in the north-west of Syria, where some three million people remain dependent on humanitarian cross-border operations, remained very challenging. He noted that recent hostilities in the area had reportedly forced nearly 15,000 people to flee their homes, with many people living in the open without adequate shelter. He said Idlib remained “on the edge of a humanitarian disaster; should there be a further escalation of violence, the needs would quickly overwhelm the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond.” He called on the parties to the conflict to spare the civilian population, “while at the same time taking all possible measures to see that the violence in Idlib ends, and that the humanitarian catastrophe the Secretary-General has warned of does not come to pass.”

Lowcock expressed concern about the more than 40,000 people in Rukban, where there were continued reports of civilian suffering and death. He said the deployment of a UN convoy in early November showed that when there is political will, humanitarian organizations can mobilize quickly and provide aid to those in need. He called on all concerned parties to provide all necessary measures for another delivery to the area later this month.

The humanitarian chief said an estimated 8.7 million people under Government control were in need of humanitarian assistance. He said, “A key priority has been addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in locations that have seen shifts in control. Some 1.6 million people live in areas that have changed control since the beginning of the year. Some areas have suffered for years under siege, have been impacted by intense military activity prior to changing control, or have seen no resumption of basic services since changing control.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said humanitarian workers in Syria continued to have very limited access and many refugees and displaced persons could not go back to their homes. He said people in former opposition-held territories still lacked access to food, medical care, and schooling adding that people there now live in fear of retribution, persecution and detention by security services. Blok said, “Some of the darkest crimes of modern times have taken place during the Syrian conflict, and they are still taking place; there will be no stability until the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice.” He stressed that impunity in Syria was becoming “the new normal, and this must end.” He added, “We must not allow this immense human tragedy to become a travesty of international law. It would be a terrible crisis of credibility for the international community.”

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the new realities in Syria required the finetuning of cross-border aid deliveries with the ultimate goal of ending them. He said this was not reflected in the adopted resolution. He added however that Russia decided not to block the resolution for humanitarian considerations and appeals by partners in the region.

Nebenzya said UN reports did not include important information such as the impact of unilateral sanctions, and the trend of returning refugees.

He said the Council had to decide “two issues critical to improving the situation in Syria. First, immediately lifting the unilateral sanctions introduced by some states. These restrictions are damaging, first and foremost, for the ordinary Syrians; and by the way this is something that is accepted by independent experts including UN experts. Secondly, we need to end the illegal occupation of Syrian territories. It undermines the sovereignty of the country and also strengthens the separatist trends in the country. This is a threat for the national security of neighbouring states.”

Syrian ambassador Bashar Jaafari said some members of the Council just wished to disregard Syrian sovereignty through resolution 2249. He said cross-border deliveries only cover five percent of humanitarian assistance in Syria and stressed that border-crossings with Turkey were being used to send weapons not aid to his country.

Jaafari said the UN monitoring mechanism for cross-border operations was “incapable of verifying that deliveries of cross-border assistance are reaching the beneficiaries until this very day as the majority of these operations are carried out across the Syrian-Turkish border and are directed to the areas under the control of the armed terrorist groups which confiscate this aid and distribute it to their members and their families, as what happened in Al Tanf.”

The Syrian ambassador said his Government was “adamant, now more than ever, to fight the remnants of armed terrorist groups, in Idlib and elsewhere” and would exercise its “legal right of self-defence and expel all foreign occupying forces which illegally entered [its] country.”
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