Federal Foreign Office: “Human Rights Commissioner calls for humanitarian access to besieged Syrian town of Madaya”

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Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (7 January) on conditions in the Syrian town of Madaya:


The news about the humanitarian situation in Madaya fills me with very great concern. Syrian civilians there are suffering from the ongoing siege being maintained by the Syrian regime and the Hezbollah militia group. I condemn in the strongest possible terms this policy of starving the civilian population. UN Security Council Resolution 2139 as well as Resolution 2254, adopted just last December, demand rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the besieged areas. I appeal to all members of the Security Council and any other states which have influence with the Syrian regime to speak out in favour of implementing those resolutions and providing humanitarian access.

Madaya has been besieged by regime forces and Hezbollah for several months. The town is surrounded by high, snow‑covered mountain chains, which further impedes access. No aid deliveries to Madaya have been made possible since mid October. The United Nations has prepared shipments in collaboration with partner organisations. A number of lorries are intended to deliver aid for a total of 40,000 people as soon as permission has been granted and access guaranteed.

The German Government is pushing hard for aid agencies to be granted access throughout Syria, regardless of battle lines. In Resolution 2254 of 18 December 2015, the UN Security Council again called for rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the besieged areas.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is supporting four million internally displaced people in Syria by distributing food. The German Government supports the work of the WFP financially. In 2015, the WFP received 137 million euros for aid programmes in Syria and neighbouring countries. Germany is the third‑largest bilateral donor overall in the Syrian situation, with the sum of its contributions since 2012 amounting to around 1.2 billion euros.

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Robert Williams

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