In comments that seem removed from the reality of the years-long war in the country, the government has requested the word “conflict” be removed from the document, and replaced with “crisis.” It has also requested the removal of the word “besieged.”
The U.N. itself reports that 974,080 people are besieged in 16 locations across Syria, with 4.5 million classed as hard-to-reach, a number that is considered low by other NGOs and advocacy organizations working in the country. With the evacuation of east Aleppo, that number will fall to around 700,000 in 15 areas. The majority are besieged by government forces and their allies.
The HRP plan is the overarching planning document that ties together the aid response across the country, including the billions of dollars per year in funding, including in areas outside the government’s control.
Last year the U.N. faced extensive criticism for failing to adequately consult U.N. hubs and NGOs operating outside Damascus, and for allowing the government of Syria to edit the document before its release. In editing, it included comments similar to those of this year — removing any mention of “besieged areas” and watering down references to violence against civilians. The U.N. allowed the changes. [Continue reading…]