GENEVA / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN UPDATE

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18-Apr-2019 00:02:49
A top UN official told reporters in Geneva help is needed urgently from the international community for some 2,500 apparently stateless “foreign children” at a camp in north-east Syria. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / SYRIA HUMANITARIAN UPDATE
TRT: 2:49
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 18 APRIL 2019, GENEVA

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

APRIL 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room
3. Close up, journalists typing
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“Today I am making a special plea for the children. There was a figure that UNICEF had used of about two and a half thousand of these foreign children, so it is really a sizeable number. These children do have a father and a mother, and their father and mother have a nationality, and therefore a solution has to be found particularly with this, for the children.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“This is an extreme, extraordinary situation; I don’t think we have ever seen such a large number in a complex protection situation, and clearly this requires many actors to work together to be able to find a way forward.”
8. Close up, photographer
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“The Al-Hol camp population today stands at a total of about 75,000 people and the breakdown is as follows: about 43 percent are Syrian nationals, 42 percent are Iraqi nationals and 15 percent are foreign nationals. And again, out of the total population, 90 percent are women and children and 66 percent are children.”
10. Close up, camera
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“Any nationals who have been suspected of having committed crimes, then they need to be obviously, treated according to national, international law, in this country.”
12. Wide shot, press room
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“What I can categorically say, first of all, is the people who we are helping are all civilians; 90 percent as I said are women and children, in Al Hol. We do not help people according to ideology.”
14. Med shot, journalists
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“A continuation of the ceasefire - it was put in place since last summer - is really crucial, in order to make sure we do not all see a catastrophe as we have all been worried given the large number and the overpopulation and also the mixture of who is there.”
16. Med shot, journalists
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“A key ask that is still pending is a next convoy. We really remain concerned about the needs of more than 35,000 people who are in Rukban. The last assistance convoy that was brought in was more than two months ago, and therefore is really long overdue to be able to move forward."
18. Close up, journalists typing
19. Wide shot, dais
20. Wide shot, journalists

STORYLINE:

A top UN official told reporters in Geneva help is needed urgently from the international community for some 2,500 apparently stateless “foreign children” at a camp in north-east Syria.

Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis made the “special plea” to journalists in Geneva, noting that 75,000 people now shelter in Al Hol camp, after fleeing ISIL extremists.

SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“Today I am making a special plea for the children. There was a figure that UNICEF had used of about two and a half thousand of these foreign children, so it is really a sizeable number. These children do have a father and a mother, and their father and mother have a nationality, and therefore a solution has to be found particularly with this, for the children.”

In a plea to Governments whose citizens had gone to Syria “to find a way forward”, the UN official highlighted the massive challenges in dealing with the arrival of 65,000 desperate people in just 100 days – most of whom are women and children.

SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“This is an extreme, extraordinary situation; I don’t think we have ever seen such a large number in a complex protection situation, and clearly this requires many actors to work together to be able to find a way forward.”

Noting that humanitarian agencies in Al Hol are still in emergency mode, Moumtzis nonetheless insisted that the situation had stabilized.

His comments follow reports that well over 100 people en route to the camp or at Al Hol had died or become gravely ill after travelling for days in harsh winter conditions since fleeing Baghouz, the former ISIL stronghold in eastern Syria.

Asked about the nationalities of those in the camp, Moumtzis replied that “about 43 percent are Syrian nationals, 42 percent are Iraqi nationals and 15 percent are foreign nationals. And again, out of the total population, 90 percent are women and children and 66 percent are children.”

Nationals “who have been suspected of having committed crimes, then they need to be obviously, treated according to national, international law, in this country,” the UN official added, before insisting that there was no question of the organization providing help to violent extremists.

“What I can categorically say first of all is the people who we are helping are all civilians,” he said. “Ninety percent - as I said - are women and children, in Al Hol. We do not help people according to ideology.”

Elsewhere in Syria, where the UN and partners help 5.5 million people every month, there is ongoing and serious concern for civilians in Idlib.

The region is home to some three million people, who rely on cross-border humanitarian supplies arriving from Turkey.

Half of these people have been displaced during the Syrian conflict, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure since it began in 2011.

Since August 2018, Idlib has been largely protected from the worst fighting by a ceasefire agreement implemented by Russia and Turkey, although clashes are ongoing.

This had forced more than 70,000 people to flee from the front line of a demilitarized areas since the beginning of the year, Moumtzis said.

SOUNDBITE (English) Panos Moumtzis, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
“A continuation of the ceasefire - it was put in place since last summer - is really crucial, in order to make sure we do not all see a catastrophe as we have all been worried given the large number and the overpopulation and also the mixture of who is there.”

Turning to the Rukban camp on Syria’s southern border with Jordan, Moumtzis said that while another 700 people had spontaneously departed on Tuesday to Government-controlled areas, significant protection and humanitarian concerns remain for the many thousands of displaced people still there.

The Humanitarian Coordinator said, “A key ask that is still pending is a next convoy. We really remain concerned about the needs of more than 35,000 people who are in Rukban. The last assistance convoy that was brought in was more than two months ago, and therefore is really long overdue to be able to move forward."
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