GENEVA / SYRIA UPDATE

10-Apr-2018 00:02:16
Following the reports of a new alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta over the weekend the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday repeated his call for the UN Security Council to “find unity” on the issue and ensure accountability. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / SYRIA UPDATE
TRT: 2:16
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 10 APRIL 2018 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva:
“The Secretary-General said, quote, ‘I am outraged by the continued reports of use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. I reiterate my strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population. Any confirmed use of chemical weapons, by any party to the conflict and under any circumstances, is abhorrent and a clear violation of international law.’”
4. Med shot, journalist writing on notepad.
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva:
“The seriousness of the recent allegations requires a thorough investigation using impartial, independent and professional expertise. In that regard, I reaffirm my full support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and its Fact-Finding Mission in undertaking the required investigation into these allegations.”
6. Med shot, spokesperson arranging papers.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“We are not in Douma, Eastern Ghouta is still under siege – we are, occasionally we are able to go in with a convoy and we leave again immediately. We are in place outside of Eastern Ghouta in those eight centres where we can provide some aid. We are not in Eastern Ghouta. And for these as you say extremely serious allegations with very severe ramifications, political, military and otherwise, we need to be absolutely sure that what we say is correct.”
8. Med shot, spokespersons, observers.
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“I have given you an example of some of the things that people are telling us, essentially that they need everything, and that it is particularly difficult for women and children. As you can imagine, if you only have the clothes you wear, you have nowhere to wash them, nowhere to change, you have no way to keep your personal hygiene, and this only adds to all of the risks that these people have been already exposed to and are being currently exposed to in congested centres.”
10. Med shot, journalist typing on laptop
11. Med shot, journalist.
12. Med shot, journalists
13. Close up, journalist writing on notepad
STORYLINE
Following the reports of a new alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta over the weekend the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday (10 Apr) repeated his call for the UN Security Council to “find unity” on the issue and ensure accountability.

Guterres’s written statement was read to reporters in Geneva by the Director of the Information Service at the UN in Geneva, Alessandra Vellucci, who read: “any confirmed use of chemical weapons, by any party to the conflict and under any circumstances, is abhorrent and a clear violation of international law. The seriousness of the recent allegations requires a thorough investigation using impartial, independent and professional expertise. In that regard, I reaffirm my full support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and its Fact-Finding Mission in undertaking the required investigation into these allegations.”

The UN Secretary-General’s communiqué comes after the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told the Security Council on Monday that at least 49 people had been reportedly killed, and hundreds injured, in an alleged chemical attack in Douma on Saturday evening.

In his statement, Guterres condemned the incident as “abhorrent” – echoing an earlier message in March in which he wrote of “persistent allegations” of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In both written declarations, the UN chief underlined his support for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - the body which investigates allegations of such attacks.

The UN Secretary-General’s latest statement also underlined his call for the Security Council to “redouble its efforts” to uphold norms against chemical weapons and agree on a mechanism that would ensure accountability.

Asked by journalists in Geneva about the alleged chemical attack, both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said they were not in a position to verify the reports.

WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib said the organization had received “unverified information” of Syrian men, women and children suffering from respiratory failure after alleged chemical exposure in Douma, site of the alleged attack at the weekend.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke explained that aid workers were located in eight shelters for those displaced from Eastern Ghouta, but not in Douma itself.

He said “we are not in Douma, Eastern Ghouta is still under siege. Occasionally we are able to go in with a convoy and we leave again immediately. We are in place outside of Eastern Ghouta in those eight centres where we can provide some aid. We are not in Eastern Ghouta. And for these, as you say, extremely serious allegations with very severe ramifications; political, military and otherwise, we need to be absolutely sure that what we say is correct.”

Addressing humanitarian needs in Syria where more than seven years of war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and caused destruction on a massive scale, UN organizations said that ongoing violence in several parts of the country had caused the mass displacement of civilians to spiral.

UN Refugee Agency UNHCR reported that tens of thousands of people remain trapped in Douma and nearly a quarter of a million people need aid urgently in the wider Eastern Ghouta area.
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