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BACKGROUND On 2 October 2013, the United Nations Security Council President issued a statement (S/PRST/2013/15) in which the Security Council expressed grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria and noted with grave concern that, without urgent increased humanitarian action, the lives of several million Syrians in need of immediate humanitarian assistance will be at risk. The Presidential Statement provides a welcome framework for all parties to the conflict to improve their respect for international law relating to the protection of civilians and humanitarian access to all those in need. This paper seeks to identify some of the practical measures that the parties must take, with sustained support from Security Council members and other member states, to ensure the timely and effective implementation of the statement. As such it provides a monitoring tool for the Security Council to measure progress made by the parties and the impact of the Presidential Statement on the ground. The paper is organized as follows: Presidential Statement commitments and recommendations, current situation on the ground and targets which could be used to monitor positive changes on the ground. 1. PROTECTION Recognising the Syrian authorities’ primary responsibility to protect their populations, the Security Council: condemns the wide-spread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by armed groups; recalls that all obligations under international humanitarian law must be respected in all circumstances; urges all parties to immediately cease and desist from all violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights; calls on all parties to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and to take all appropriate steps to protect civilians. Baseline: Widespread occupation of civilian facilities (schools, hospitals, water stations) by military forces from all parties to the conflict. Large-scale impact of conflict on public services: 4,000 schools closed as a consequence of conflict; 60 per cent of public hospitals, 34 per cent of public health centres; 92 per cent of public ambulances and 70 per cent of pharmaceutical plants affected by conflict. Widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by armed groups reported by the International Independent Commission of Inquiry, including but not limited to reports of: 1
INTERNAL AND CONFIDENTIAL failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants; indiscriminate attacks, and attacks against civilians and civilian objects; use of chemical weapons and the employment of weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering attacks directed against civilian objects; and establishment of military positions in populated areas. Lack of access to Syria for the International Independent Commission of Inquiry and OHCHR impeding the ability to monitor violations of human rights and humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict in Syria. Regular reporting and monitoring of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law carried out by the International Independent Commission of Inquiry, OHCHR and the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (for the six grave child rights violations). Proposed targets: Demilitarization of currently occupied civilian facilities by all parties to the conflict; Restoration of education, including supporting children back to learning and re-opening of schools; Restoration of health services in major population areas hardest hit by the conflict; Safe passage of patients; Restoration of basic infrastructure and services; Reduction in violations of IHL and human rights by all parties to the conflict including significant reduction of reported cases of violations of IHL/HR law (including gender-based violence) against civilians, including against children, women and other vulnerable groups. Command orders issued by armed groups banning child recruitment and use, release of children in their ranks, and turning away children wanting to join groups; Evacuation of civilians. Civilians allowed to leave and evacuated from identified besieged areas by humanitarian organizations. 2. SAFE PASSAGE OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND SUPPLIES The Security Council recalls that under international humanitarian law: the wounded and sick must receive, to the fullest extent practicable, and with the least possible delay medical care and attention required by their condition; and medical and humanitarian personnel, facilities and transport must be respected and protected. To this end, the Council urges free passage to all areas for medical personnel and supplies, including surgical items and medicine. Baseline: Restrictions imposed by the Syrian authorities on delivery of medical supplies over past six months include: medical supplies which could be used for surgical interventions (e.g. scissors, infusions, anaesthesia) not allowed into opposition-controlled areas; all convoys which include medical supplies to be 2
INTERNAL AND CONFIDENTIAL accompanied by international staff; removal of medical items from humanitarian convoys by security services (e.g. removal of contents from diarrhoea kits); and requirement that WHO items be stored in Ministry of Health facilities (large amounts of life-saving medicines and supplies are stored in Ministry of Health warehouses in Damascus and Tartous). In a positive development, in August and October 2013, surgical supplies and medicines were successfully delivered to Idlib and Ter’mallah in Homs through inter-agency convoys. At least 700,000 children have not been reached with essential vaccines and communicable diseases are spreading rapidly due to poor hygiene and sanitation and lack of access to medical treatment in areas most affected by the conflict. For example, there are now reportedly at least 100,000 cases of leishmaniasis in Aleppo and in October 2013 there were reports of cases of polio in Deir ez Zor. Proposed targets: Distribution of medical, surgical and reproductive health supplies to hard-toreach areas identified by the HCT; Nationwide polio vaccination campaign commenced and vaccinations procured for polio and measles vaccinations; Leishmaniasis elimination. Procurement of medicines/supplies and equipment to eliminate the transmission of leishmaniasis and ensure effective treatment for patients. Garbage collection support provided as needed. 3. SAFE AND UNHINDERED DELIVERY OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE The Security Council: urges all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, to take all appropriate steps to facilitate the efforts of the United Nations, its specialized agencies and all humanitarian actors engaged in humanitarian relief activities, to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the affected people in Syria; urges the Syrian authorities to promptly facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need, through the most effective ways, including across conflict lines and, where appropriate, across borders from neighbouring countries in accordance with the UN guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance; urges all parties to agree on the modalities to implement humanitarian pauses, as well as key routes to enable promptly — upon notification from relief agencies — the safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian convoys along these routes to access people in need. Baseline: Hard to reach and besieged areas: At least 2.5 million people are estimated to be living in “hard to reach” areas in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including in Rural Damascus (525,000), Aleppo (500,000), Damascus (320,000), Hassakeh (290,000), Dara’a (185,000) and Homs (150,000). This figure is likely to increase based on latest information and includes besieged 3
INTERNAL AND CONFIDENTIAL communities that have not received any humanitarian assistance for more than 10 months. Evacuation: Humanitarian organizations have been requesting support from all parties to evacuate civilians from besieged areas for months (e.g. the Old City in Homs Moadamiyeh in Rural Damascus). In total an estimated 50007000 people have been evacuated from Moadamiyeh in October, during two evacuations that took place on 29 October, and between the 12 and 16 October. Civilians may still be trapped inside the city. Safety of humanitarian workers: Since March 2011, 11 UN national staff and 22 SARC volunteers/staff members have been killed in the violence. There have been more than 38 cases of arrest/detention of nationally-recruited personnel since the onset of the crisis; 21 of them are still in detention. Kidnappings and abductions are increasingly common: there have been 11 cases of abduction of national staff and 9 reported cases of missing staff since the beginning of the crisis. Hijacking, seizure and looting of aid and widespread damage to UN premises: Cars and aid trucks have increasingly been targeted for highjacking, seizure and looting. There have been about thirty-four cases of UN vehicles hijacked since May 2012 and 22 aid trucks hijacked since October 2012. Drivers are subject to detention and harassment at both Government and opposition controlled checkpoints. 37 out of UNRWA’s 200 premises have been damaged and extensive military operations are now taking place in six of UNRWA’s 12 Palestine refugee camps. Proposed targets: Distribution of humanitarian assistance to besieged communities including to Moadamiyeh, Daria, East Ghouta (East Damascus), Yarmouk, Aleppo, Zahra, Nubul, Old City of Homs, and rural Dara’a; Distribution of humanitarian assistance to hard-to-reach areas. Implementation of regular programme of deliveries by UN agencies and INGOs (in partnership with SARC and national NGOs); Local humanitarian pauses negotiated to reach at least ten areas agreed by all parties to the conflict; Safety of humanitarian workers. Due process for 21 national staff still in detention and release of staff held hostage. Respect for neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian aid/emblems and significant reduction in incidents involving UN and humanitarian partners; Respect for humanitarian convoys. Humanitarian convoys guaranteed safe passage by all parties to the conflict; Respect for the inviolability of UN premises and assets by all parties to the conflict. Cessation of attacks on UN premises and re-establishment of and respect for the inviolability of UN premises and assets; Facilitated field missions throughout the country, including for program monitoring, by all parties to the conflict.
INTERNAL AND CONFIDENTIAL 4. EXPANSION OF HUMANITARIAN RELIEF OPERATIONS The Security Council urges the Syrian authorities to take immediate steps to facilitate the expansion of humanitarian relief operations, and lift bureaucratic impediments and other obstacles, including through: a. expediting the approval of further domestic and international nongovernmental organizations to engage in humanitarian relief activities; b. easing and expediting the procedures for the operationalization of further humanitarian hubs, the entry and movement of humanitarian personnel and convoys, and the importation of goods and equipment; and c. accelerating approval for the implementation of humanitarian projects. The Security Council also urges all parties to designate empowered interlocutors with the necessary authority to discuss with humanitarian actors operational and policy issues. Baseline: Empowered interlocutors: The Humanitarian Coordinator currently engages with interlocutors who do not have decision-making authority within their respective structures. Visas: Since January 2013, the Government has approved 205 visas. There are currently 55 visas pending for UN staff: UNFPA (1), UNDP (2), IOM (2), WHO (3), FAO (4), UNMAS (5), UNICEF (5), UNHCR (5), WFP (6), OCHA (7), UNRWA (7), and DSS (8). 10 of the visas have been pending for more than 3 months and 5 for more than 6 months. Visas are currently issued for varying periods from one month to one year and there is no time limit established for consideration of applications. Clearance procedures for convoys: For interagency convoys the UN is required to: 1) submit a request 72 hours prior to intended departure to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and await clearance; 2) obtain a letter from SARC; and 3) obtain a letter from the Ministry of Social Affairs. In the case of medical assistance, a further letter is required from the Ministry of Health. For regular truck dispatches, the UN is required to receive facilitation letters for passing through checkpoints. With regard to dispatches to SARC branches, two letters – one issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and one by SARC – are required. Humanitarian hubs: The UN and partners have operationalized two hubs (Homs and Tartous). The UNCT has requested the opening of a further three hubs in Aleppo, Dara’a and Qamishly. The Government have expressed their willingness to agree the opening of a hub in Al-Sweida rather than Dara’a given the security situation. Customs clearance: Approval to import and license communications equipment is still problematic and some agencies are facing delays in obtaining the required exemption letters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following a new requirement by the Ministry that implementing partners provide distribution plans. INGO partners: 15 INGOs (Danish Refugee Council, Premiere Urgence, HELP, Institut Europeen de Cooperation et de Developpement, International Medical Corps, Action Contre la Faim - Spain, Secours Islamique France, Terre 5
INTERNAL AND CONFIDENTIAL des Hommes - Italy, Mercy Corps, Merlin, the Norwegian Refugee Council, ADRA, OXFAM - GB, SOS International, and International Catholic Migration Commission) are currently authorized to operate in Syria. INGOs are not authorized to work directly with national NGOs, and the MOUs they are required to sign with SARC have many restricting clauses. NNGO partners: The list of national NGOs authorised by the Syrian Government to work with humanitarian partners includes 74 national NGOs working through 97 branches over the country. However, some priority governorates still have a very low number of national NGOs, e.g. Dara’a (2); Ar Raqqa (2); Deir Ez-Zor (3); Idlib (3); and Homs (7). The UN has requested to be able to partner directly with local NGOs. Currently, agreements with local NGOs must be submitted for approval, and this can take more than a month. Proposed targets: Empowered interlocutors designated and engaging with the HC on an ongoing basis to implement the PRST; Expediting humanitarian convoys. Negotiation of a written agreement that replaces current procedures with a notification system from humanitarian organizations to Government of convoy movements for deconfliction. While Government advice will be taken into account, final determinations on whether convoys should proceed in insecure areas will be taken by the UN; Expediting and standardizing visa issuance for humanitarian and development staff. Decisions on pending visa applications to be made as a matter of urgency. New visa protocol agreed and implemented with MFA which standardizes the system of visa issuance; List of priority INGOs and INGO sub-office locations submitted by the UN for approval by Government. Government approval of INGO applications results in an increased number of NGOs, especially those with needed expertise on issues such as nutrition, health, wash, shelter, education, protection, etc. Restrictive clauses in standard agreement between INGOs and SARC removed; Negotiation with the Government for approval of additional NGOs for operations in priority governorates: Dara’a; Ar Raqqa; Deir Ez-Zor; Idlib; and Homs. Government to authorize INGOs and UN agencies to work directly with NNGOs, dropping requirement for Government to approve agreement resulting in an increased expansion of partnerships with NNGOs; Government decision on pending customs clearance for communication tools, protective armoured vehicles and medical and surgical equipment as a matter of urgency. Agreement with the Government on expeditious processing procedure and customs clearance for humanitarian supplies; Agreement to establish and operationalize humanitarian hubs in at least three additional locations (e.g. Aleppo, Dara’a and Qamishly); Decision on humanitarian projects pending approval with the Government to be made as a matter of urgency; Implementation of countrywide needs assessment. Sharing of information by all parties on needs, numbers and profiling of affected people to inform updated responses and programming. 6
INTERNAL AND CONFIDENTIAL 5. FUNDING The Security Council urges all Member States to respond swiftly to the United Nations’ humanitarian appeals and to ensure that all pledges are honoured in full. It further urges all Member States, in coordination with international financial institutions and United Nations agencies, to increase their support to address the increasing political, socioeconomic and financial impact of the refugee crisis on hosting countries. Baseline: The Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) and the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) require US$4.4 billion to address the needs of people in Syria and the region until December 2013. As of 4 November, these response plans were 57.2 per cent and 62.5 per cent funded, respectively. Projects of the SHARP addressing winterization have already been sent to donors for urgent funding. During the 30 January 2013 Kuwait High-Level Pledging Conference for Syria, $1.54 billion was pledged, out of which over $1 billion (66 per cent) has been committed/contributed. New pledges for Syria and the region were made during September, amounting to about $1 billion. Proposed targets: Comprehensive regional response to the Syria crisis, in support of neighbouring countries, to be finalized; Funding. Preparations are underway for a high-level pledging conference to fund the 2014 response. Winterization Plan fully funded.
Valerie Amos 4 November 2013
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