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UN Security Council Passes Resolution On Syria Aid Access
NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Saturday passed a resolution aimed at facilitating access for humanitarian aid in Syria.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the resolution would help mitigate the hardship and suffering of the civilian population, provided it is implemented quickly and "in good faith" by all parties to the conflict.
In the resolution 2139 (2014), the UNSC urged "all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, (to) promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, including across conflict lines and across borders".
But the 15-member UNSC - which includes 10 non-permanent members, addition to the permanent five member states - also demanded for cessation of all forms of violence in Syria and strongly condemned the increase in terror linked to Al Qaeda.
The tenor of the resolution was to stop attacks on civilians, including through the indiscriminate use of weapons in densely-populated areas, in the form of shelling and aerial bombardment with barrel bombs which has fetched outright condemnation at the United Nations.
While welcoming the resolution, Ban commented that it should not have been necessary in the first place because "humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated but allowed by virtue of international law."
Expressing shock that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war, Ban noted that reports of human rights violations continued, including massacres, as well as sexual violence against children.
The resolution also severely condemned the widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities, and urged all parties in the conflict to lift sieges in areas with civilian population, including Aleppo, Damascus and Rural Damascus, and Homs.
The resolution also emphasised the need to maintain medical neutrality, besides demanding the demilitarization of medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities.
But the main authors of the resolution text, ambassadors Gary Quinlan (Australia), Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) and Prince Zeid Raad Zeid Al-Hussain (Jordan) said after the resolution was passed that the UNSC was committed to take further measures if this resolution was not implemented.
The UNSC has asked the Secretary General to submit a progress report every 30 days on the implementation of the resolution.
Saturday's resolution text draws heavily on the Presidential statement passed four months ago calling for immediate action for civilian protection and access to people in need.
The UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,Valerie Amos, expressed the hope that the passing of the UNSC resolution would help in extending aid to those who badly needed it, emphasising that it was important to protect ordinary people who had borne the brunt of the violence, particularly children.
According to UN Refugee Agency (UNRA), more than 100,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict while an estimated nine million have been driven from their homes since the outbreak of the conflict three years ago between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups trying to oust him.
There are also more than 2.4 million refugees currently living outside their country - some 134,000 in Egypt, 223,000 in Iraq, 574,000 in Jordan, 932,000 in Lebanon, and 613,000 in Turkey,
Saturday's resolution also makes a grim assessment of the humanitarian situation in Syria which will continue to deteriorate if a political solution is not quickly found.
The UNSC expressed its support to the UN sponsored direct talks between the Syrian government and representatives of the opposition forces.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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