UNICEF calls for more access to Syria, protection of children

Security Council to support UNICEF's call for the safe, voluntary and dignified release, repatriation and reintegration of children in the North-East

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UNITED NATIONS, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Monday called for more humanitarian access to Syria and for the protection of children in the war-torn country. UNICEF and its partners need regular access to northwest Syria to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, Fore told the Security Council in a briefing.

The Security Council’s 12-month renewal of authorization for cross-border delivery provided a necessary window to help people in desperate need. But the needs are multiplying, she said.

In the last year, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of people needing humanitarian assistance in the northwest. Over 55,000 children are acutely malnourished and will face dire consequences without a continuation of access and humanitarian assistance, she said. “We cannot turn our backs on the 3.4 million people in need living there, including 1.7 million children. They’re living in crowded camps or informal settlements with limited or non-existent access to electricity, health care or water plants. This aid is the only lifeline they have.”

She called on the Security Council to renew the authorization for cross-border assistance and to spare no effort to reach an agreement on accessing children through cross-line operations to reach Idlib governorate and other parts of the northwest.

Fore called on all parties to immediately stop attacks on children, hospitals, schools and other vital civilian infrastructure like water plants.

She asked the Security Council to support UNICEF’s call for the safe, voluntary and dignified release, repatriation and reintegration of children in the northeast.

She also called on the council to support the United Nations’ call for peace.

“Syria is disintegrating before our eyes. After 10 years (of conflict), it’s time to put the guns down, come to the negotiation table, and reach a lasting peace agreement. Until then, our teams are staying and delivering. We believe in a brighter future for the children of Syria,” she said. “For millions of war-weary Syrian children, hope is all they have. We call on this council to not only keep their hope alive but match it with the solutions and support them need, and the lasting peace they deserve.”

 

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