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Saving Syria's Children - cross border aid delivery is essential

Only the most callous regime apologists would have remained unmoved by BBC Panorama's Saving Syria’s Children documentary aired last night. This was raw, to the bone reporting on a conflict which is literally seeing the skin shredded from children due to the regimes indiscriminate bombing campaigns including with incendiary weapons.

Many who watched it would have been in tears. Many would have been enraged. Many would have also felt a genuine sense of helplessness. How the hell is this happening in 2013 and why is nobody being held to account? 

What is very clear is that we need to see a massive intervention of humanitarian aid and aid workers into Syria. This means aid agencies being allowed to cross the borders into Syria, safely and effectively with minimum blockages and guarantees of safe passage from all parties to the conflict. Up to now, the Syrian government has made it incredibly difficult for relief to get to Syria’s own children in need and its apologists, including Russia, have been callously watching as these children die.

Huge and effective pressure which challenges the idea that “state sovereignty” is more important than basic human dignity when civilians are in dire need - this is where the international community now needs to focus its energies.

The UN Security Council showed it could work together on achieving a binding resolution to disarm the Syrian government of its chemical weapons. Now is the time for it to work together again to force the regime to open the borders and ensure a massive aid operation can enter the country.

The UNSC needs to make a clear and unambiguous demand on the Syrian government and armed opposition groups to allow humanitarian agencies unfettered access to assist all civilians without discrimination. In the case of the Syrian government, this absolutely must include cross-border and cross-line access in order to be effective.

The Syrian government has failed in its responsibility to protect Syrian civilians; it should now be forced to let in aid agencies that are ready, willing and able to assist desperate and horribly injured people crying out for relief.

Kristyan Benedict is on Twitter as @KreaseChan

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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