Security Council voices concern over humanitarian situation in Somalia

18 June 2002

Members of the United Nations Security Council today voiced their deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Somalia and called on all parties involved to fulfil their obligations to guarantee the access and safety to all relief agencies and their personnel.

A press statement by the body's current President, Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe of Syria, said Council members were worried about the situation in the northern parts of the Gedo region, where successive waves of fighting have caused casualties, large-scale internal displacement and outflow of refugees, while also disrupting the provisions of the humanitarian assistance to the populations in the region.

They were concerned that without the re-establishment of humanitarian access in the Gedo region the population could suffer dramatically, Ambassador Wehbe said, adding that Council members also expressed concern at the presence of refugees along the border, and urged neighbouring states to live up to their international obligations to move them away from border areas.

Underlining the interlinkages between the humanitarian situation and the efforts for peace and the building of institutions in Somalia, the statement condemned the renewed violence further undermining the prosperity and lives of the people and the country's peace process.

"Members of the Council are deeply concerned about the continued and destabilizing flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to Somalia from other countries and express their determination to generate independent information on violations of the arms embargo established by resolution 733 (1992), in accordance with resolution 1407 (2002)," Ambassador Wehbe said.

Earlier Tuesday, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie briefed Council members on the humanitarian situation in Somalia, highlighting the link between the generally slow progress on the political front and a continued deterioration in the humanitarian situation.

According to a UN spokesman, Ms. McAskie also said during a closed-door meeting that access to vulnerable groups reached a low point during the past months due to renewed fighting and targeting of UN staff. She also drew attention to the fact that the donor response to the UN humanitarian appeal remained critically low, with only 28 per cent of the estimated $84 million in needs met.


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