UN Security Council Resolution: Syria – unhindered humanitarian access across conflict lines and borders

Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2139 (2013) to Ease Aid Delivery to Syrians, Provide Relief from ‘Chilling Darkness’ (22 February 2014)

Secretary-General Welcomes Security Council Adoption of Resolution on Syria, but Says It Should Not Have Been Needed as Humanitarian Aid Not Negotiable (22 February 2014)

Joint Statement :: Humanitarian, Human Rights and Peace Groups welcome unanimous Security Council Resolution demanding unhindered humanitarian access across conflict lines and borders, urge swift implementation 
22 Feb 2014
A coalition of 17 international Humanitarian, Human Rights and Peace Groups welcome today’s unanimous Security Council resolution demanding safe and unhindered humanitarian access – including across conflict lines and across borders –  to people in need throughout Syria.

Today’s action by the Security Council is an important step towards getting desperately needed aid to millions of Syrians, including a quarter of a million who are trapped in besieged communities. However, this resolution will only be meaningful if it results in real, substantial changes on the ground in Syria…

…Getting aid to all those in need in Syria in the midst of an ongoing conflict is a complex and dangerous challenge. But the test of whether this resolution is being implemented is fairly simple, and requires real progress by all parties, in the next 30 days, on five central points at a minimum:

1. Lifting of sieges on populated areas and ensuring all people in besieged communities have safe and unhindered access to humanitarian aid;

2. Opening of border crossings from neighbouring countries for deliveries of life-saving aid by both the UN and NGOs;

3. Stream-lined procedures for approving humanitarian aid convoys and prompt approval of requests for convoys to travel to hard-to-reach areas;

4. Cessation of attacks on schools and hospitals and the demilitarization of these facilities, as well as the facilitation of free passage for all medical personnel and equipment;

5. Cessation of indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and any methods of warfare which do not respect the obligation under international humanitarian law to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants.

The Security Council’s resolution is a diplomatic breakthrough; it is not yet a humanitarian breakthrough. This will require the swift translation of the Council’s strong, shared words into meaningful action. For the sake of more than 9 million suffering Syrians, we call on all parties to act immediately on the Security Council’s demands and we call on Security Council members to be firm in ensuring the rapid implementation of the resolution.
Full text: http://www.rescue.org/press-releases/joint-statement-18322

Center for Victims of Torture; Center for Civilians in Conflict; Christian Aid; Conectas Human Rights; Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect; Human Rights Watch; International Rescue Committee; Islamic Relief Worldwide; Médecins du Monde; Norwegian Refugee Council; PAX; Pax Christi International; People in Need; Save the Children; Solidarités International; Syrian American Medical Society; Tearfund; World Vision International