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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Syria, DPRK

13 Jan 2022

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Civilians in Al Hol need dignified, informed, and durable solutions to their displacement. Credit: OCHA/Hedinn Halldorson

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 13 January 2022

Syria

The United Nations is saddened by reports of the killing of a Syrian aid worker in Al Hol Camp on 11 January. The killing followed an armed attack on a health facility in the camp.  Al Hol continues to see a significant decline in the rule of law and increased violence among residents, with a range of appalling attacks reported. This is the first death in the camp this year (aid worker or other).

In 2021, the UN received reports of 89 murders of Syrian and Iraqi camp residents, including one humanitarian worker. Ongoing insecurity has resulted in all humanitarian actors pausing their operations for two days as they review safety protocols. Al Hol remains the largest camp for refugees and internally displaced people in Syria, with around 56,000 people, over half of whom are under 18.

In a joint statement, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Imran Riza, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Muhannad Hadi, condemned the abhorrent incident and the ongoing violence. On behalf of the entire humanitarian community in Syria, the two senior UN officials expressed condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the victim.  They also called on all parties with influence to ensure appropriate security measures to allow humanitarian assistance to continue to be delivered in a safe and effective manner.
 
The UN and other humanitarian organizations remain committed to mobilizing and delivering regular life-saving and essential aid to Al Hol.  But their work can only effective when steps are taken to address persistent safety issues.  Civilians in Al Hol need dignified, informed, and durable solutions to their displacement.  The UN reiterates its call for all responsible parties to take urgent and meaningful action to resolve this issue and uphold the rights, dignity, and humanity of each individual living in Al Hol.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The UN remains concerned about the humanitarian situation and needs of the people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and maintains close contact with the respective professional counterparts in the country. Despite humanitarian challenges, including limited information and lack of access, the UN remains committed and stands ready to provide assistance to people in need in the DPRK to the extent possible, as circumstances will allow.

The UN continues planning for humanitarian operations in the DPRK for 2022, in line with global guidelines, and the anticipated return of UN international staff to the DPRK and the resumption of shipments. The UN can confirm that very limited humanitarian supplies have recently reached the DPRK. Shipments of lifesaving medicine and medical items from UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA have been shipped after a long waiting period. This is a welcome development that marks a first step towards improving the health of thousands of people in need.

We reiterate that it is vital that international staff can return to the DPRK as soon as possible, for supplies to come in, and for staff to have access to project implementation sites to initiate capacity building activities that have stalled since 2020 which would enable a broader and more comprehensive response.