The Damascus office of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has allegedly allowed the Assad regime to interfere with Syria’s latest fundraising reports.
The aid agency let the Syrian government replace the word “besieged” with “inaccessible” or “hard-to-reach” in context with Madaya.
Middle East Eye, a British news site has reported the OCHA, which was responsible for supervising the arrival of food aid to besieged territories of Syria has, also allowed the officials in Damascus to change the word “conflict” to “crisis”—they have also deleted all references to the UN’s 2016 plan to close down mines and bomb removal programs, a project which came in response to the humanitarian needs of Syria.
The account stated the OCHA in Damascus had published the amended report without referring to their offices in Turkey or Jordan.
A number of other facts and figures have also appeared inconsistent in the report. The aid agency states393,700 people were under siege in Syria, however, Siege Watch, a monitoring network of Syria’s beleaguered communities, has puts the number over a million.
The UN office informed only 15 areas were currently under siege, but Siege Watch has estimated the number to be 52. As a result of the false reporting, the people of Madaya were unable to get aid for four months.
The news report quoted Valerie Szybala, the director of the The Syria Institute saying, “The declining situation in Madaya should have been obvious in the monthly UN reporting. Instead, it took a group of activists spreading horrifying photos on social media to get the international community’s attention.”
The director of the non-profit organization also claims the besieged areas were intentionally downplayed and the OCHA’S explanation that they were using different definitions of the word “siege” is not holding water. She also condemns the UN for their unfeeling attitude towards the starving civilians.
“The UN has taken a front row seat as spectators to sieges of civilians that amount to extensive and protracted crimes against humanity,” she said.