Syria: UN envoy’s report on children ignores the truth
Syria has strongly criticized a recent UN report regarding Syrian children suffering from a Western-backed insurgency, as a “blatant divergence” from “neutrality and credibility”.
Delivering a statement at the meeting of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the international humanitarian initiative for children care, Syrian permanent representative to the UN, Faisal al-Hamwi, said the report submitted by UN Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui, ignored realities in several levels.
Hamwi said the Syrian government has closely cooperated with the UNICEF since the beginning of the crisis and facilitated its relief missions and humanitarian mandate, adding that the government invited Zerrougui and received her twice and allowed her access to the areas she wanted to visit.
“We would like to highlight here our wonder at what came in some of Zerrougui’s report’s paragraphs and her blatant divergence in these paragraphs from the approach of neutrality and credibility,” said al-Hamwi in Syria’s statement.
He cited among “the most prominent of these missteps” is ignoring the cooperation which the Syrian government showed to Zerrougui’s team and the UNICEF office in Syria.
The Syrian Representative also criticized the report for overlooking the grave violations against the Syrian children in the camps in neighboring countries, most importantly the attempts at recruiting them to fight in Syria by a number of takfiri and terrorist organizations.
Al-Hamwi stressed that Zerrougui also ignored in her report any reference to the worrying and serious cases of organized crime, child labor and sexual abuse that are spreading among the Syrian children in these camps.
He said the report bypassed any mention of systematic destruction of schools, hospitals and health centers by the rebel groups and their blocking of the delivery of medicine and vaccines, particularly polio vaccines.
Al-Hamwi underscored that Syria has been one of the successful countries achieving advanced levels in child care in the various health, educational and cultural areas, which has been recognized by the concerned international organizations and specialized agencies.
He added that Syria is proud that it was the first country in the region to announce more than a quarter of a century ago that it is polio-free, reiterating that the Syrian government has paid great attention to the issue of child care and protection against the repercussions of the crisis in the country since day one.
Al-Hamwi stressed that the grave impacts of the unjust and illegitimate economic sanctions imposed by some countries on the Syrian people are considered, according to the international humanitarian law, an involvement in the war crimes committed by these countries against the Syrian people.
He clarified that these sanctions are a flagrant violation of the right to live as they deprive the Syrian people and children of food, medicine, vaccines and the necessary medical equipment.
“The Syrian government, which today has undertaken the mission of securing 80% of its people’s necessary needs under the crisis, stresses that it will go ahead with fully and completely shouldering its responsibilities towards its people in compliance with its commitments to the human rights law and the international humanitarian law,” said al-Hamwi.
He affirmed that the Syrian government will continue its close cooperation with the international humanitarian organizations, including the UNICEF, while these organizations respect the sovereignty of the Syrian state and the leading role of the Syrian government and refrain from interfering in the Syrian internal affairs and politicization.