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UN concerned over Red Cross problems in Syria

09 november 2012, 18:52
0
©AFP
©AFP
The UN human rights chief expressed concern Friday after the Red Cross said it was struggling to deliver aid in war-ravaged Syria, AFP reports.

"The fact that they've now said they are unable to perform their core functions there is very significant," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told AFP.

"They always reach people unless it's really impossible for them. So this statement is very concerning," she added, during an interview at the Bali Democracy Forum in Indonesia.

Peter Maurer, the new president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said Thursday that the humanitarian situation in Syria was deteriorating and that the agency "can't cope".

The ICRC, which works in collaboration with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to deliver aid in the conflict-wracked country, has "a lot of blank spots" in its efforts to meet the needs of the people on the ground, he said.

Humanitarian agencies have said many of the supplies they are trying to take into Syria are being confiscated by the regime or resold.

Pillay also criticised the UN Security Council for its failure to take action on Syria.

"Clearly from the facts over 18 months and thousands and thousands of people killed in Syria, there has been a failure to come to the aid of people who have been suffering there," she said.

The conflict has divided the Security Council, with Russia and China blocking three draft resolutions supported by Western and Arab countries on the crisis, saying they unduly interfered in Syria's domestic affairs.

Fighting in Syria has claimed some 37,000 lives since it erupted in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while the UN estimates the number of people in need within the country at around 1.2 million.

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