NGO statement on the UN Security Council reauthorisation of cross border assistance to Northwest Syria

Published: Jul 13, 2022 Reading time: 2 minutes
NGO statement on the UN Security Council reauthorisation of cross border assistance to Northwest Syria
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Statement on behalf of the Syria INGO Forum (SIRF) & Northwest Syria NGO Forum. 

Whilst the passing of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2642 on 12th July will enable UN cross-border operations to Syria to resume through Bab al Hawa, NGOs are deeply concerned and disappointed that the UN Security Council was unable to support these operations for the full 12 months necessary, and instead authorised this vital mechanism for just 6 months. UNSCR 2642 will ensure an essential lifeline of basic food, shelter, water, protection, critical medical services and other lifesaving support continues to reach millions in the northwest at a time of great need, but a guaranteed period of only 6 months presents a major risk to continued and predictable humanitarian assistance for Syrian people.

Millions of civilians depend on our organisations' ability to maintain and expand humanitarian aid and services. The current humanitarian situation on the ground necessitates more unfettered humanitarian access via all aid modalities to meet the scale and complexity of growing needs.

This reduction in the authorisation timeframe, and lack of certainty regarding its extension in January, will have significant detrimental effects on the humanitarian response. Humanitarian organisations are working to respond to ever-increasing needs that have also led to social tensions and heightened risks for aid workers. The Council is now set to vote on another resolution to extend the mandate in January 2023, a time when the population in the northwest is particularly vulnerable to the harsh winter months, freezing temperatures and flash flooding. The Council’s decision to reduce the mandate period, at a time when humanitarian needs are higher than ever, represents a major step backwards in ensuring principled and effective humanitarian assistance to those in need, This decision will likely create unnecessary uncertainty, inefficiencies and interruptions, including for early recovery efforts, at this critical time of the year.

NGOs, and the Syrians we serve, now look to the Security Council to ensure authorisation for the UN’s cross-border mechanism remains beyond January 2023 to ensure humanitarians are able to continue to meet needs and scale up their response. Millions of civilians depend on our organisations' ability to maintain and expand humanitarian aid and services. The current humanitarian situation on the ground necessitates more unfettered humanitarian access via all aid modalities to meet the scale and complexity of growing needs. We urge Security Council members to put politics aside and to ensure that the humanitarian imperative is at the centre of decision making.

Author: Syria INGO Forum (SIRF) & Northwest Syria NGO Forum

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