A Weekly Update from the UN Department of Public Information No. 112/16 September 2015

Syria crisis has propelled largest refugee exodus since WWII, UN official tells the Security Council
Addressing the Security Council on 16 September, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien said that the plight of Syrian refugees desperately trying to reach Europe in recent weeks had shown that the effects of the Syria crisis were not just national or regional, but global in nature. “The conflict in Syria has propelled one of the largest refugee exoduses since the Second World War”, he stated. While urging stronger efforts to address the root causes that force people to seek asylum abroad, Mr. O’Brien stressed that for Syria, it should be clear to all that this means a political settlement to bring an end to the conflict. To that end, the UN humanitarian chief once again appealed to Security Council members to set aside their differences and work together to finally bring an end to this nightmare for the Syrian people.

Robust, coherent European response to refugee crisis urgently needed, says UNHCR
The UN refugee agency welcomed on 15 September the formal adoption of an earlier relocation proposal involving 40,000 people at a European Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels. However, the agency expressed deep disappointment that although a majority of Member States was in agreement with a wider relocation proposal of 120,000 people, a final consensus on that could not be reached.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, UNHCR Spokesperson Melissa Fleming stressed the need for a robust and coherent European response to the current refugee crisis, calling for “bold action based on solidarity from all Member States”.

She added that to succeed, relocation had to be accompanied by large-scale emergency reception, assistance and registration efforts in the countries most impacted by arrivals, particularly Greece, Hungary and Italy.

UN agency forced to cut food aid by half amid funding gap
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced on 15 September that it had cut by half its assistance to 1.3 million Syrian refugees due to critical funding shortage.

In Jordan, the agency had reduced the value of its food vouchers to refugees living outside the camps to $14 per person, per month. All 96,000 refugees living inside the camps continued to get $28 per person per month to meet their food needs.

This month, WFP had to cut voucher assistance to 229,000 of the most moderately vulnerable people in order to prioritise those who were most in need. Some 638,000 refugees in Lebanon had also had their food vouchers reduced to US$13.50 per person per month. That reduction meant that most refugees were now living on around 50 cents a day.

WFP immediately needs US$333 million to continue providing a lifeline to Syrians affected by the conflict until the end of the year.

Security Council approves investigative mechanism of use of chemical weapons
The Security Council on 10 September approved the setting up of a Joint
Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations.

Welcoming the Council’s authorization, the Secretary-General underlined the importance of addressing the use of chemical weapons and the need for perpetrators to be held accountable. He also reiterated his call on all parties in Syria to cooperate fully with the investigative mechanism. The three-member independent panel will be headed by the Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Virginia Gamba of Argentina. She will assume overall responsibility of the JIM, with two deputies responsible for the political and investigative components respectively.

UNICEF urges more efforts to end the conflict to avoid worsening of refugee crisis
UNICEF warned on 10 September that the refugee crisis in Europe will only worsen if greater efforts are not made to end the conflict in Syria and respond to the humanitarian needs of the millions affected by violence. According to UNICEF, some 16 million people – almost half of them children – are in need of life-saving assistance. More than 2 million children are now out of school inside Syria, while up to 5 million people face water shortages. “Every Syrian I spoke to has told me that they would have stayed in their own country if they were able to feel safe, live in peace, and be treated with dignity,” said Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “They risk their lives and the lives of their children to flee to Europe because they have no other option and they see no future for themselves or for their children”, he noted.

UN Envoy sets out plan to get education for 1 million Syrian refugee children
With more than 4 million children having fled Syria to neighboring countries, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown told reporters at UN Headquarters on 10 September that the Syrian crisis had reached biblical proportions. “While the recent focus has been on refugees entering Europe, there are 4 million refugees – 2 million of them children – who are holed up in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, many of them living in the streets.” The former British Prime Minister outlined a $250 million proposal that would get 1 million Syrian refugee children in school in 21 days in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

At a cost of $10 a week, the children can get an education that would help prepare them for the future, he said, calling on international donors for a swift response in light of the severity of the crisis.

UN Radio in Arabic

Irina Bokova participates in conference to combat the looting of cultural heritage in Syria

UNICEF is working with its partners to overcome the difficulties that prevent Syrian children from continuing their education

WFP reduced its aid to Syrian refugees due to lack of funding

UNICEF: Children Syrians are facing unprecedented problems due to the conflict

High Commissioner Zeid: The Kurdish child, Aylan, embodies the growing misery in the world

Syrian refugees and their crisis on the European borders

Syria: cases of acute malnutrition among children emerge for the first time in modern history as millions of families continue to flee

UNICEF: Children refugee crisis in Europe will deepen if it the Syrian conflict is not solved and the humanitarian needs met

Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura calls for an end to the bloodshed in Syria

Gordon Brown launches a campaign to get a million Syrian refugee children in school

UNHCR denies the information in the Lebanese media on resettling the Syrian refugees

UN Twitter
Stephen O’Brien ‏@UNReliefChief – 16 September
I call on the UN Security Council to set aside differences & work together to bring an end to this nightmare for #Syria’s people

Stephen O’Brien ‏@UNReliefChief -16 September
The #UN Security Council & countries with influence CAN & MUST do more to demand that the indiscriminate violence in #Syria stops

United Nations retweeted- 15 September
UN Refugee Agency ‏@Refugees Efforts are needed to address root causes of forced displacement around the world. http://trib.al/NCcBNlv #Syria

United Nations retweeted
UN News Centre ‏@UN_News_Centre – 15 September
#Syria: @UN chief names panel to probe accountability for #ChemicalWeapons use:http://bit.ly/1FLdPoF

United Nations retweeted
UN Refugee Agency ‏@Refugees -11 September
It’s been an extraordinary week full of compassion across Europe + the world for refugees. Thank you for your support

United Nations ‏@UN – 13 September
12.2 million people in need of humanitarian aid
7.6 million IDPs
4 million refugees http://wfp.org/Syria @WFP

United Nations ‏@UN – 13 September
.@Refugees must find a welcome environment & immediate response to basic needs in Europe http://trib.al/HwYVKso

Ongoing social media campaigns on Syria

#4Syria campaign was launched on 20 March 2015 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to highlight the Syrian conflict, which has entered its fifth year. The campaign calls for an end to the conflict and seeks to raise funds for UNRWA’s programmes to support Palestinian refugees from Syria. It features testimonies of Palestine refugees, as well as documents highlighting UNRWA’s emergency work in the region. View the campaign at: http://www.unrwa.org/syria-crisis/syria4thanniversary

#SaveYarmouk was launched in January 2015 to shed light on the grave deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yarmouk, following the escalation of fighting. The campaign includes stories and updates from Yarmouk as well as recorded voices of residents describing the horrible conditions in which they are living. With no access to regular food supplies, clean water, health care, electricity or heating fuel, Yarmouk’s civilian population is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. For those who wish to support UNRWA’s work in Syria, donation is possible through the campaign’s website: http://www.unrwa.org/crisis-in-yarmouk

UNICEF and its partners are committed to keeping Syrian children from becoming a ‘lost generation’. Critical efforts are being made to minimize the impact of the crisis on children – including in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as in the future of children, through education and child protection.

Relevant links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes on Syria
DPI Focus Page on Syria:

UN System agencies :
UN Women: http://www.unwomen.org/
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/media/index.html
WFP: http://www.wfp.org/countries/syria
OCHA: http:/unocha.org/syria , twitter.com/ocha_syria , facebook.com/UNOCHA.Syria
WHO: http://www.who.int/countries/syr/en/
UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4f86c2426.html
OHCHR: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/NewsSearch.aspx?CID=SY
UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/

UN on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UN
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/unitednations
Tumblr: http://united-nations.tumblr.com/

Photo galleries:
UNHCR: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c25d.html
UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/photogallery.php
OCHA: http://www.unocha.org/media-resources/photo-gallery
UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/photography/photo_2013.php#UNI82253
IRIN: http://www.irinnews.org/photo/