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Italian NGO GVC in Syria calls for protection of civilians in Aleppo and compliance with international law

Photo UNICEF, Khalil Alshawi

NEW YORK, 14 November 2016 – “It’s 10 days I haven’t sent my children to school, I’m always afraid that something like a mortar or stray bullets might happen on the way”, an engineer of Italian NGO GVC in Damasco said today, denouncing how critical the situation is in Aleppo, after a new failed ceasefire, with vulnerable people (persons with disabilities, the elderly, women and minors) being stuck in the city.

GVC, one of the very few organizations allowed to work in Syria, is in West Aleppo since the beginning of the conflict. Given the dramatic situation on the ground, many of their reconstruction works are now suspended, including schools (several were destroyed or are inaccessible) and water systems. The Italian NGO aligned itself with the position of the UN, calling for compliance with international humanitarian law and the protection of the entire civilian population.

“The UN is deeply concerned by reports of fighting in Aleppo today, despite the announcement of a ceasefire agreement last night. We stand ready to step up our support in all parts of Aleppo, but it is critical that the UN obtains approval to go anywhere in Aleppo where people are in need of urgent protection and humanitarian assistance”. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, said today that any evacuation of the civilians in Aleppo must be carried out in compliance with international law.

In his remarks to the Security Council, the Secretary-General said that his “deepest regret on leaving office is the continuing nightmare in Syria. He once again pleaded with Council members to cooperate and fulfil their collective responsibility to protect Syrian civilians. (@annaaserafini)

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