A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information
Secretary-General continues consultations over appointment of new envoy
As part of ongoing consultations to appoint a successor to Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General met with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil Elaraby, in Geneva on 18 June. They agreed to continue their consultations on that issue. Discussions also focused on key priorities, including humanitarian access and bringing the fighting to a halt.
Syrian conflict cannot be solved militarily, UN official
Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General at the 41st session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers in Saudi Arabia, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) expressed concern at the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq and increasing sectarian tensions in the region. On Syria, he noted that the international community as a whole has so far failed the Syrian people in ending the war, reasserting that the conflict cannot be solved militarily.
8% of Syrian chemicals still remain to be removed
The OPCW Director-General, together with the OPCW-UN Joint Mission Special Coordinator, Sigrid Kaag, briefed the OPCW Executive Council on ongoing delays in transporting the remaining 8 per cent of chemical materials out of country. The Director-General noted that Syria will miss the target date of 30 June for the complete destruction of its chemical weapons programme, urging Syrian authorities to redouble their efforts to complete the transportation of the remaining chemical materials without further delay.
The conflict in Syria has reached a tipping point – UN official
During a presentation to the Human Rights Council on 17 June, the Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said that the conflict in Syria has reached a tipping point, threatening the entire region. Noting that violence has escalated to an unprecedented level, he said that in over 3,000 interviews the Commission had collected narratives indicating a massive number of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mr. Pinheiro said that civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict. Increasingly, attacks by Government forces and the armed opposition have targeted civilians. He also warned that Syria was “on its way to becoming a failed state and that the international community was complicit in this, through its acts and its omissions.”
Humanitarian Chief reiterates calls for improved humanitarian aid access
In a press conference in Geneva on 16 June, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said that the Syrian crisis continues to dominate the UN response efforts with 9.3 million people in need and 2.8 million people who have become refugees in neighbouring countries. Noting that over 241,000 people remain trapped in besieged areas, she deplored that Security Council Resolution 2139 on humanitarian access has had little impact and access remains extremely difficult. She said that food reached a record 4.1 million people in Syria in March, but only 3.2 million in May due partly to increased insecurity. “We need the continued support of the international community, we need not just the funding, but we also need the access if we are going to do our jobs effectively”, she stated.
UNRWA launches Ramadan appeal for Palestine refugees in Syria
On 16 June, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) launched a US$27 million Ramadan Appeal to enable Palestine refugees trapped in Syria to buy food during Ramadan. Announcing the appeal, the UNRWA Commissioner-General said that “as we come up to Ramadan, we can foresee a prospect of thousands of Palestinian refugees going hungry because very simply they do not have enough money to buy food”. He added that the funding requested would enable UNRWA to distribute cash to 440,000 Palestinian refugees.
Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:
OPCW-UN Joint Mission
UN Humanitarian agencies
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