They warned of the dire consequences of not renewing Resolution 2642, which is set to expire on 10 January.
“If the cross-border resolution is not renewed, the already desperate humanitarian situation in northwest Syria will be further aggravated at a time when people in the country need the international community’s support to survive,” they said in a statement.
Women and girls affected
For eight years, the resolution has allowed critical aid supplies to be delivered to northwest Syria “despite current limitations in its scope and duration.”
The experts noted that access to healthcare remains challenging for many Syrians due to factors such as insecurity, difficulties simply reaching health facilities, and security challenges affecting the freedom of movement, but also patriarchal norms and gender-based violence that disproportionally affect women and girls.
Each month, the UN reaches 2.7 million people with cross-border assistance. Roughly 80 percent are women and children who face additional burdens and risks to their physical and mental health resulting from the non-fulfillment of their routine and emergency sexual and reproductive health needs.
“The renewal of the resolution is the minimum required to respond to the ever-growing needs and vulnerabilities of millions of civilians in the northwest. There is no comparable alternative to cross-border aid to reach the 4.1 million people that need it there,” they said.
The experts warned that failure to renew the resolution would drastically disrupt and reduce the delivery of life-saving humanitarian and medical aid in the region.
“Despite the support provided by civil society and other international and national organizations to scale up humanitarian response activities, we express concern about the risks of increase of hunger among the population, the lack of access for patients to receive appropriate and timely health care,” they said.
Lives at risk
Furthermore, insufficient prioritization of access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health goods, information and services, in particular for adolescents and victims of sexual violence, has created additional challenges for women and girls.
“This is compounded by the risk for millions of people of losing shelter assistance and access to water. We are deeply concerned that the deprivations caused by ending UN cross-border operations will result in preventable deaths.”
The 15 experts who issued the statement were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
They are independent of any government or organization, work on a voluntary basis, and operate in their individual capacity.
They are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work.