Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria

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June 20, 2022

I thank Secretary General Guterres and USG Griffiths for their presence today. As highlighted every month here, the humanitarian situation in Syria is of utmost importance for the people of Syria, for the millions in need, and for the future of the country. The clear messages we heard from them only reinforce this imperative.

Thank you, Mr. Agha, for the detailed yet sobering information and the concrete recommendations.

Colleagues,

Today is the World Refugees Day. It is a reminder to honor refugees around the globe. Millions of people in Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Ethiopia and elsewhere, who have been forced to flee their homes by conflict, violence, human rights violations, will have little to celebrate.

A record high of 100 million people is currently displaced globally. This means that 1 in every 78 people on earth has been forcibly uprooted. 42% of them are children, whose innocence has been smashed by the brutality of conflict and whose dreams are denied by the uncertainty for their future.

Colleagues,

The Syrian crisis has entered its 12th year. Hostilities continue in various parts of the country, with unparalleled suffering, with huge and increasing humanitarian needs.

Figures are depressing if not simply frightening:

more than 14.6 million Syrians are dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, including 4.1 million people living in the northwest, where over 70% of the population are food insecure.

More than 90 % of Syrians live below the poverty line.

Some 5.5 million people, primarily mothers and children need nutrition assistance.

Women and girls continue to be subject of international humanitarian law and human rights violations, including killing, arbitrary deprivation of liberty and gender-based violence. All that many Syrian children have ever known is only war. A generation of Syrian children has been born and raised in camps.

A staggering two-thirds of the population are facing food shortages during the current year. This means more parents are faced with such heart-braking choice between skipping meals or sending their children to work; more girls forced into early marriage to provide income for food; One in two Syrian children is out of school and vulnerable to child labour, early and forced marriage, trafficking, and recruitment by armed actors.

Dear colleagues,

In two weeks, on July 10, the Council will vote on cross-border authorization of the only remaining border crossing point for humanitarian aid into Syria, Bab al-Hawa under resolution 2585 (2021).

For millions of Syrians in need for life-saving assistance, there is no other alternative. The exacerbated food insecurity makes it even more complex, harder to reach everyone. We know already that, even in the current situation, all the needs are, unfortunately not met.

How many times – including today, by the SG, OCHA and the NGO Forum, – have we been told here the same key message: the cross-border operation cannot be replaced by crossline operations. Crossline aid is a complement to; not a substitute for cross-border assistance. Crossline operations cannot replace the size or the scope of the massive cross-border operation.

It was said, and it needs to be repeated: cross-border operation is among the most closely monitored operations in the world.

Renewal of the authorization of the only cross-border point is a ticking clock lifeline for millions. It equals to a decision of life or starvation for many who depend on it.

This is why we call on the Council to reauthorize the provisions of the cross-border resolution to maintain the only Bab al-Hawa border crossing in northwest Syria.

Colleagues,

Humanitarian needs and action should not be politicized. They cannot be a weapon or an extension to the conflict.

We call upon the Syrian government to ensure the delivery of aid and allocation of health services so that UN agencies, as well as humanitarian organizations and local actors can work unhindered in their efforts to reach people in need.

Protection of civilians, international humanitarian law and human rights law, must be ensured by parties to the conflict. We condemn attacks against humanitarian workers and support all efforts of United Nations agencies and their partners in their work throughout Syria. Let not forget, impunity for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law will not be tolerated and accountability is central to achieving sustainable peace.

In concluding, as Mr. Agha underlined, there are more than millions of reasons to renew the cross-border authorization for the people in need. There is none for the opposite.

The role of the Security Council, our duty and responsibility, is to help people, save lives, assist those in need not contemplate whatever calculations.

The Council should side with hope and life, not with death sentence for the poor, the needy, girls and children, all those who have no one else to turn to.

The theme of the day “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever” would hardly better fit to the centrality of the humanitarian action in Syria and the Council should be able again to stand united.

Thank you.

 

 

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