10 April 2015

UN Secretary-General on the Yarmouk refugee camp: ‘It is time for concerted action to save lives and restore a measure of humanity’

On 9 April 2015, the Secretary-General made the remarks at a press encounter on ‘the rapidly deteriorating situations in Yemen and Syria – where countless civilians are being willfully abandoned to misery’.

On Syria he said: ‘In the horror that is Syria, the Yarmouk refugee camp is the deepest circle of hell. After more than two years of a merciless siege, 18,000 Palestine refugees and Syrians are now being held hostage by Da’esh and other extremist militants. A refugee camp is beginning to resemble a death camp. The residents of Yarmouk are being turned into human shields. They face a double-edged sword – armed elements inside the camp, and government forces outside.’

The Secretary-General continued saying: ‘I call on all Member States with influence on the Government and all parties on the ground to take all steps necessary to send a clear message: Civilians must be spared. Civilians must be protected at all times. The epic humanitarian catastrophe in Yarmouk represents an epic test of the international community’s resolve. Surely we can all agree that what is unfolding in Yarmouk is unacceptable. Surely, we can all act to end the suffering. Surely, we can all refuse to tolerate the intolerable. It is time for concerted action to save lives and restore a measure of humanity. We simply cannot stand by and watch a massacre unfold.’

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Source: UNSG | Off the Cuff | Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter [scroll down for Q&A] | New York, 9 April 2015

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