SNHR Participates in a Seminar, ‘The Earthquake’s Human Rights Fallout and the Crisis of UN and International Aid’, at the Harmoon Center for Contemporary Studies

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Represented by its executive director Fadel Abdul Ghany, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) participated in a seminar held in Qatar on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, by the Harmoon Center for Contemporary Studies. The seminar was moderated by Omar Edlbi, the director of Harmoon Center’s office in the Qatari capital, Doha, where it took place.
In his address, Mr. Abdul Ghany spoke about the UN’s earthquake response mechanisms, why these failed so disastrously, and the fallout from this failure. He noted that the UN’s late response left the local civil community organization alone to face the overwhelming, catastrophic destruction caused by the earthquake, with this delay in essential assistance for rescue efforts leading directly to more victims dying under the rubble. The SNHR head also emphasized the massive inadequacy of the UN’s response to the earthquake in northwest Syria, with some mechanisms being invoked late while others, such as issuing distress calls to mobilize efforts and teams globally, were not invoked at all. He added that the donor states’ near-complete reliance on the UN, despite being fully aware of its slowness and bureaucracy, means that they share responsibility for the late response to the earthquake in northwest Syria.

Mr. Abdul Ghany also stressed the need for the UN to launch an internal investigation into the reasons for its late response in northwest Syria, adding that the United Nations must abstain from using the principles of sovereignty and intervention as a pretext to expand the Security Council’s powers in an arbitrary way at the expense of international law, especially with regard to humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, he proposed that an international support platform should be established to coordinate the humanitarian assistance efforts in northwest Syria, noting that such a body would be a positive alternative for delivery of such services in addition to the UN, reducing the current complete reliance on the UN which has proved to be such an overwhelming failure given Russia’s exploitation of its system in recent years.

On February 15, SNHR released a report in which it demanded that an investigation should be launched into why the UN and international humanitarian assistance was days late, and to assign responsibility for the needless, avoidable deaths of too many Syrians due to the earthquake.
To watch the full seminar, click on the Link.