Syria refugee crisis ‘worse since Rwanda genocide’
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 11:08
  
Zee Media Bureau

United Nations: The beleaguered refugees from Syria are fleeing the conflict-stricken country at an alarming rate, worse since Rwanda genocide of 1994, UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said.

Addressing the Security Council in a rare public briefing, the UN official said that over 6, 000 were fleeing Syria each day and two-thirds of nearly 1.8 million refugees registered with the UN had left the country since the beginning of 2013.

"We have not seen a refugee outflow escalate at such a frightening rate since the Rwandan genocide almost 20 years ago," said Guterres.

Hailing the role of neighbouring countries in supporting Syrian refugees, Mr Guterres said the countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq were saving hundreds of lives but he also regretted the “crushing” impact of the refugee crisis on Syria’s neighbours.

The "danger that the Syrian conflict could ignite the whole region" was "not an empty warning", he added.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said at least 6.8 million Syrians require urgent humanitarian assistance and accused the government and opposition of "systematically and in many cases deliberately" failing their obligation to protect civilians.

"This is a regional crisis not a crisis in Syria with regional consequences, requiring sustained and comprehensive engagement from the international community," Amos said by videoconference from Geneva.

"The security, economic, political, social, development and humanitarian consequences of this crisis are extremely grave and its human impact immeasurable in terms of the long-term trauma and emotional impact on this and future generations of Syrians," she said. "We are not only watching the destruction of a country but also of its people." Simonovic said that since UN human rights chief Navi Pillay reported last month that at least 92,901 people had been killed between March 2011 when the conflict began and the end of April 2013, government forces and militias have moved to uproot the opposition in many areas including Qusair and Talkalkh, Aleppo, Damascus and its suburbs.

"Government forces carry on with indiscriminate and disproportionate shelling and aerial bombardments, using among other weapons tactical ballistic missiles, cluster and thermobaric bombs, all causing extensive damage and casualties if used in densely populated areas," he said.

"As a result, hundreds of civilians, including women and children were killed, thousands injured, and tens of thousands displaced," Simonovic said. "Many displaced in the parts of Homs and rural Damascus remain under siege and face miserable humanitarian conditions."

With Agency Inputs


First Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 11:00


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