Alarm as Syrian humanitarian crisis intensifies: UN agencies
Syria’s humanitarian crisis is deepening, said UN agencies on Tuesday, as fierce fighting continues in east Ghouta, close to the capital, and Afrin in the country’s north-west.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that up to 50,000 people have been evacuated from east Ghouta since March 13th, around 70 per cent of them women and children.
Here’s UNICEF Spokesperson, Mirixie Mercado.
“There is a palpable sense of relief, especially among the children. They arrive hungry and exhausted, but the sound of their laughter fills the yards of the shelters.”
Tens of thousands still wait at exit points to be transported to collective shelters, where conditions are “miserable”, with humanitarian need “overwhelming and growing by the hour”, said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
Meanwhile, an escalation in fighting in the Afrin region has uprooted 104,000 people from their homes in the unfolding emergency there.
UNICEF says it has been 20 days since health and nutrition supplies could be delivered to Afrin district, while water trucks have been unable to deliver water since March 15th, due to the increase in violence.
UN reports “extensive” rights violations during Turkey state of emergency
Routine extensions of an 18-month state of emergency in Turkey have led to “profound human rights violations” against hundreds of thousands of people, according to a report issued by the UN human rights office (OHCHR).
The violations include torture, arbitrary detentions and infringements of the rights to freedom of association and expression.
OHCHR warned on Tuesday that the state of emergency may “have long-lasting implications for the institutional and socioeconomic fabric of Turkey”.
Nearly 160,000 people have been arrested during the period, while 152,000 civil servants were dismissed, many arbitrarily.
Teachers, judges and lawyers have also been dismissed or prosecuted; journalists arrested, media outlets shut down and websites blocked.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said that the reported detention of around 100 pregnant women, whose children had been violently separated from them was “simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country safer”.
16 migrants dead after boat capsizes in Mediterranean: IOM
The UN migration agency (IOM) has reported the deaths of 16 migrants, including nine children, whose boat capsized on Saturday off the Greek island of Agathonisi.
Three people were rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard, and authorities believe at least three people remain missing.
Most of the victims were said to be from Afghanistan and Iraq.
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) said they were the first fatalities to be recorded on the eastern Mediterranean route between Greece and Turkey, since 25 December.
However, the western and central Mediterranean routes between North Africa, Italy and Spain, continue to be deadlier.