A Weekly Update from the
UN Department of Public Information No. 2 / 31 July 2013
During a press briefing on 25 July, prior to a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Secretary-General reiterated his call for an end to military activities by both parties in Syria and for the holding of a peace conference in Geneva as soon as possible. He said that together with Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi he would spare no effort to convene this meeting. At the same time, he said that the death toll had risen to over 100,000 people killed since 2011.
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane and the Head of the UN Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons Professor Åke Sellström, visited Damascus on 24 and 25 July. According to a joint statement with the Government of Syria issued following the visit, their discussions were “thorough and productive and led to an agreement on the way forward”.
On 29 July, the Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, briefed the General Assembly on the human rights situation in Syria. Outlining the findings of the Commission’s 10th report, he said that indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombardment continue across Syria. Unlawful attacks by Government forces have been documented in almost every governorate. He noted that one of the most insidious aspects of the conflict has been the disappearance of thousands of people from their homes. “Torture continues to be committed on a widespread and systematic basis”, he added. The link to the Commission’s report is given below:
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on 29 July that an estimated 6.8 million people continue to need assistance inside Syria and another 1.8 million people have fled the country since the beginning of the conflict. So far this year, UN agencies and humanitarian partners have organized 21 cross-line convoys and reached nearly 1.8 million people with food, water and health supplies in hard-to-reach areas.
Also on 30 July, WFP said the agency planned to reach three million people in July, but the upsurge in violence across many areas of Damascus and Homs, and the proliferation of checkpoints around major cities had affected the pace of food deliveries. More areas were becoming inaccessible due to increased fighting. WFP also had difficulty reaching parts of Al Hasakeh in the northeast of Syria.
Selection of UN stories
UNHCR concerned at arbitrary detention of Syrian refugees in Egypt
GENEVA, 26 July (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency said on Friday it was concerned that Egyptian military and security personnel have been arbitrarily detaining an increasing number of Syrians amid growing anti-Syrian sentiment.
UNICEF Ambassador, Pau Gasol, returns from Iraq
Dohuk, Iraq / Barcelona, 30 July 2013 – Pau Gasol, two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and UNICEF Spanish Committee Ambassador since 2003, has returned today from visiting Syrian refugees in Iraq.
“It’s so shocking to see what some of the hundreds of thousands of children who have been affected by the conflict in Syria have experienced,” said Gasol. “No child should experience such violence and destruction and be deprived of the basic services that they need to grow and develop to fulfill their potential.”, stated Gasol.
Links to UN Secretariat, Agencies, Funds and Programmes
DPI Focus Page on Syria: http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusRel.asp?infocusID=146&Body=Syria&Body1=
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