UNOG Bi-weekly press briefing: Syria OHCHR - UNICEF 08NOV2019
/
4:12
/
MP4
/
310.2 MB

Edited News | OHCHR , UNICEF

UNOG Bi-weekly press briefing: Syria OHCHR - UNICEF

Hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk in Syria amid ongoing violence in northeast and northwest

Almost daily violence targeting built-up areas and health facilities in Syria continues to threaten civilians there, UN rights experts and humanitarians said on Friday.

“Civilians continue to pay a very high price in the ongoing hostilities in Syria,” said UN human rights office (OHCHR) spokesperson Rupert Colville.

Dozens of people have been killed and injured in the largely separate situations “occurring simultaneously” in north-eastern and north-western Syria, he told journalists at the United Nations, noting that “at least 92” had been killed between 9 October and 5 November.

Their deaths were from a variety of causes including airstrikes and ground based strikes, “and increasingly as a result of what appears to be an indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in populated areas, including in local markets”, the OHCHR spokesperson added.

Those comments follow a warning from Najat Rochdi, Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, that hundreds of thousands of people in northeast Syria are vulnerable following an incursion by the Turkish military on 9 October.

“Of the more than 200,000 people who fled the fighting in recent weeks, close to 100,000 people have not yet been able to return home and are dispersed across improvised camps and collective shelters,” she said on Thursday. 

These recent displacements have compounded an already dire situation in which 710,000 people were already displaced and approximately 1.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, Ms. Rochdi’s statement explained.

In a related warning, Mr. Colville said that people recently displaced during the military offensive have been “subsequently…subjected to arbitrary detention, in addition to enforced disappearances, after returning to their homes. This is occurring both in areas controlled by Turkish forces and Turkish-affiliated armed groups and in areas controlled by Kurdish armed groups.”

The OHCHR spokesperson added that attacks using improvised explosive devices in the formerly Kurdish-controlled north-east “have noticeably escalated in recent days, mainly in areas under the control of Turkish-affiliated armed groups, which suggests they have most likely been carried out by groups opposing the Turkish military offensive”.

In Syria’s northwest, meanwhile, medical professionals continue to be at grave risk.

Health facilities “continue to be directly hit or significantly damaged whenever there is a military escalation in Idlib”, OHCHR’s Mr. Colville said.

Just this week, “four separate facilities were damaged”, he noted, taking the total number of health facilities that OHCHR has recorded being hit since 29 April to 61.

“We can’t determine if every single attack is deliberate,” Mr. Colville added, “but the large scale of these attacks – as I say, 61 separate facilities, considerably more actual strikes hitting those facilities, given some of them were hit two, three, four times, and the fact that it’s happening every time there’s a military escalation strongly suggests that Government-affiliated forces are conducting these strikes are at least partly if not always deliberately striking health facilities. But I think we’ll have to…and of course, that would amount to a war crime.”    

In a new development related to thousands of Syrians held by the Government, Mr. Colville explained that it was concerning that families have been receiving death notifications from the Government authorities. “Basically telling them that their relatives, or family members who were detained or forcibly disappeared have died in custody.”

The development comes as UN Special Envoy for Syria confirmed on Friday that talks between Syrians on a new foundational text for the country will resume in two weeks in Geneva.

Earlier, UN humanitarians warned that a serious funding crisis risks leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrians vulnerable to deteriorating weather conditions.

“Of the $295 million we required in 2019, we have received just $138 million,” said Marixie Mercado, spokesperson, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF): “Despite the massive security, access and capacity challenges, this funding shortfall now represents the most serious obstacle we face in reaching children who need help urgently.”

Listing the many urgent interventions that would no longer be possible without that funding, Ms. Mercado explained that it would mean “not providing emergency water, sanitation and hygiene support to over 100,000 people, nor improving poor water supplies to 300,000 more. Not providing 55,000 children with routine immunization, and nearly 140,000 women and children with health and nutrition consultations.”

  1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations flag alley.
  2. Medium shot, journalists, podium,  Room III.
  3. Close up, hands typing on laptops in profile.
  4. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “Civilians continue to pay a very high price in the ongoing hostilities in Syria. Dozens have been killed and injured in the largely separate situations occurring simultaneously in northeastern and northwestern Syria, from a variety of causes, including airstrikes and ground-based strikes, and increasingly as a result of what appears to be an indiscriminate use of improvised explosive devices in populated areas, including in local markets .”
  5. Medium shot, journalists,  Room III.
  6. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “Health facilities continue to be directly hit or significantly damaged whenever there is a military escalation in Idlib. Four separate facilities were damaged on 4 and 6 November, taking the total number of health facilities we have recorded being hit since 29 April to 61.”  
  7. Medium shot, journalist peering at laptop screen, another journalist is seated next to him, Room III.
  8. SOUNDBITE (English) — Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “We can’t determine if every single attack is deliberate, but the large scale of these attacks – as I say, 61 separate facilities, considerably more actual strikes hitting those facilities, given some of them were hit two, three, four times, and the fact that it’s happening every time there’s a military escalation strongly suggests that Government-affiliated forces are conducting these strikes are at least partly if not always deliberately striking health facilities. But I think we’ll have to…and of course, that would amount to a war crime.”   
  9. Medium shot, journalist looks at laptop screen with hand covering mouth, a second journalist is seated next to her, Room III.
  10. SOUNDBITE (English)— Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “Attacks with improvised explosive devices have noticeably escalated in recent days, mainly in areas under the control of Turkish-affiliated armed groups, which suggests they have most likely been carried out by groups opposing the Turkish military offensive.”
  11. Close up, journalist’s face in profile looking down, Room III.
  12. SOUNDBITE (English)— Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): Another issue of concern in the north-east, relates to people recently displaced during the military offensive who have subsequently been subjected to arbitrary detention, in addition to enforced disappearances, after returning to their homes. This is occurring both in areas controlled by Turkish forces and Turkish-affiliated armed groups and in areas controlled by Kurdish armed groups.”
  13. Medium shot, journalists, Room III.
  14. SOUNDBITE (English)— Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): A particular concern of ours is that, you know, among the thousands of Syrians who continue to be detained, or who have been forcibly disappeared inside Government-run detention facilities, we’re concerned that we are receiving reports of families receiving death notifications from the Government authorities, you know, basically telling them that their relatives, or family members who were detained or forcibly disappeared have died in custody.”
  15. Medium shot, journalists, Room III.
  16. SOUNDBITE (English)— Marixie Mercado, spokesperson, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF): “Of the $295 million we required in 2019, we have received just $138 million. Despite the massive security, access and capacity challenges, this funding shortfall now represents the most serious obstacle we face in reaching children who need help urgently.”
  17. Medium shot, journalist with headphone, semi-profile, Room III.
  18. SOUNDBITE (English)— Marixie Mercado, spokesperson, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF): “Not providing emergency water, sanitation and hygiene support to over 100,000 people, nor improving poor water supplies to 300,000 more. Not providing 55,000 children with routine immunization, and nearly 140,000 women and children with health and nutrition consultations.”
  19. Medium shot, journalist with hand on chin, profile, another journalist with ear microphone, Room III
  20. Medium shot, journalists, podium, Room III.
  21. Close up, journalist’s hands shown checking mobile, podium in background, Room III.

Similar Stories

Gaza health update - WHO 29 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | WHO

Gaza health update - WHO 29 May 2024 ENG FRA

Gaza medics struggling in face of ‘overwhelming disaster’ as vital supplies run low: WHO Vital medical supplies are fast running out in Gaza’s remaining hospitals, the UN health agency warned on Wednesday, amid reports of continuing Israeli bombing and hostilities in the enclave. “We have distributed an enormous amount of essential medical supplies, but it's not enough. I mean, this is such an overwhelming disaster, it’s not enough,” said Dr Rik Peeperkorn, UN World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Palestine.

Papua New Guinea disaster - IOM 28 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | IOM

Papua New Guinea disaster - IOM 28 May 2024 ENG FRA

Papua New Guinea landslide response hampered by complex conditions Efforts to rescue those impacted by the deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea that has claimed an estimated 2,000 lives have been complicated by fears that the waterlogged ground could shift again. “We don’t want a disaster on top of the current one,” said Itayi Viriri, UN migration agency (IOM) regional spokesperson for Asia and the Pacific, on Tuesday

Gaza Update WHO - UNICEF - UNRWA 28 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | WHO , UNICEF , UNRWA

Gaza Update WHO - UNICEF - UNRWA 28 May 2024 ENG FRA

Gaza: Rafah attack horror heightens focus on lack of health resources UN agencies reiterated their call for urgent ceasefire and humanitarian access following the devastating Israeli air strikes on Sunday that hit a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah. The Hamas-run Ministry of Health reported 35 killed, including women and children.

UN Human Rights Briefing Remarks by Liz Throssell and James Rodehaver on situation in Rakhine State, Myanmar

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Briefing Remarks by Liz Throssell and James Rodehaver on situation in Rakhine State, Myanmar ENG FRA

At the bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva, UN Human Rights spokesperson Liz Throssell and the head of OHCHR’s Myanmar team, James Rodehaver, made the following comments on the fighting in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

Brazil floods: UNHCR - WMO

1

1

1

Edited News | UNHCR , WMO

Brazil floods: UNHCR - WMO ENG FRA

UN strengthens support to most vulnerable in southern Brazil's 'biggest climate-related disaster. Unprecedented floods and landslides have impacted over two million people in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul where almost every city has been hit.

Ukraine update UNHCR WHO 21 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | UNHCR , WHO

Ukraine update UNHCR WHO 21 May 2024 ENG FRA

The UN expressed new concerns on Tuesday over a rise in displacement and humanitarian needs in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, amid “relentless”  Russian air and ground attacks.

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani on the Treatment of Migrants in Tunisia

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani on the Treatment of Migrants in Tunisia ENG FRA

The UN Human Rights Office on Friday highlighted the worrying situation of migrants in Tunisia and the increase in racist language.

UN Human Rights  Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani on escalation in El Fasher in Sudan and Human Rights chief exchange

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani on escalation in El Fasher in Sudan and Human Rights chief exchange ENG FRA

The UN’s Human Rights Chief has renewed his calls on both parties to the conflict in Sudan to end hostilities, voicing his horror at the situation in El-Fasher in Darfur.

Sudan escalating violence WHO - UNHCR - OCHA - OHCHR 17 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | OCHA , OHCHR , UNHCR , WHO

Sudan escalating violence WHO - UNHCR - OCHA - OHCHR 17 May 2024 ENG FRA

Sudan faces horrific violence, famine, and disease, with millions needing humanitarian aid amid conflict.

Gaza floating dock - OCHA 17 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | OCHA

Gaza floating dock - OCHA 17 May 2024 ENG FRA

Aid delivery via floating dock starts in Gaza but land routes remain crucial, says UN's OCHA.

UN Human Rights office concerns on Russian attacks in Kharkiv region of Ukraine

1

1

1

Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights office concerns on Russian attacks in Kharkiv region of Ukraine ENG FRA

The UN Human Rights Office sounds the alarm at the impact on civilians in eastern Ukraine following the latest attacks by Russian armed forces

Gaza death toll, OHCHR - WHO 14 May 2024

1

1

1

Edited News | WHO , OHCHR

Gaza death toll, OHCHR - WHO 14 May 2024 ENG FRA

In Gaza, as more Palestinian casualties of the Israeli military offensive are identified by the enclave’s health authorities, UN humanitarians reiterated on Tuesday that a high proportion of women and children were indeed among the 35,000 dead.