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Syria's aid groups withdraw cooperation from UN, say efforts 'influenced' by Assad government: Reports

The signatories have called for a transparent investigation into the 'political impact that the Syrian government has on humanitarian actors'. Photograph: (AFP)

Syria Sep 09, 2016, 02.35 AM (IST)
More than 70 aid groups in Syria have reportedly withdrawn from the United Nation's (UN) information sharing programme, accusing the world body of being “significantly and substantially” influenced in its distribution of aid by President Bashar al-Assad's regime. 

In a letter to the UN, about 70 humanitarian groups have announced their withdrawal from "Whole of Syria (WoS) information-sharing mechanism", the Guardian reported today. 

The letter stated that the groups, which comprise Syria's most renowned aid organisations, could no longer put up with the “manipulation of humanitarian relief efforts by the political interests of the Syrian government that deprive other Syrians in besieged areas from the services of those programmes”.

According to Al Jazeera, aid groups accused the UN of being complacent in Syrian government's interference in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. 

In the open letter, the Guardian further elaborates, the non-governmental organisations told the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):  “The Whole of Syria information-sharing mechanism was created in order to prevent gaps in the response by including all humanitarian actors providing cross-border relief. Yet, UN agencies based in Damascus and their main partner, Syrian Arab Red Crescent (Sarc) have been making the final decisions, shaped by the political influence of the Syrian government." 

UN is also accused of being a ''political player'' in marginalising humanitarian workers and blocking aid to the rebel-held areas.

The signatories have called for a transparent investigation into the "political impact that the Syrian government has on humanitarian actors".

The UN secretary-general's spokesman, however, said that the world body's operations in Syria were transparent. 

"Everything is listed. We always welcome any scrutiny to our humanitarian work in Syria. Our focus is and will continue to be to deliver as much aid as possible to the Syrian people," he said.

(WION)
 
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