Action alert

UNRWA issues urgent appeal: Help pressure Geneva II leaders to end siege on Yarmouk

UNRWA food distribution, Damascus, Syria. Dec 14, 2013 - © Carole al Farah/UNRWA Archive

(CHICAGO 01/20/2014) – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the organization created to deal with Palestinian refugees, and several other UN agencies, has issued an urgent appeal for worldwide participation in a social media campaign in attempts to end the siege on Yarmouk camp as well as other civilian areas in Syria. Together with organizations such as Human Rights Watch UNRWA’s goal is to use social media to reach 23 million people (the pre-conflict population of Syria) and for them to back a call to the leaders at the Geneva Two Conference to lift the restrictions on Yarmouk and other civilian areas in Syria.

UNRWA hopes “to trend and reach that figure on the eve of the conference and send a loud signal that enough is enough.”

In a heart-wrenching letter sent to the American Muslims for Palestine, journalists and other social justice supporters, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said “Just occasionally in a journalist’s career, they are confronted with a situation of such overwhelming pitilessness that they have no choice but to cross over the divide between objective observer to engaged participant. I believe we have reached that moment in Yarmouk and other civilian areas of Syria.”

 UNRWA is using Thunderclap, a platform that amplifies the impact of social media campaigns. From now until Tuesday at 5 p.m. Damascus time (9 a.m. CST), AMP is asking you to help activate your networks and convince people to join the Thunderclap and signing up, so that together we can reach our target.

Then, please take to Twitter to spread the message.

There are two parts to this call to action.

1. First, use your networks to get people to sign up at Thunderclap by using the following Tweets until 9 a.m. CST Tuesday, Jan. 21:

Stop the suffering. Calling on participants of #GenevaII to lift restrictions on #Yarmouk. Pls join our Thunderclap:

Join us in making sure the besieged people of #Yarmouk are not forgotten. Sign up here to our Thunderclap:

Hello #GenevaII Conference, are you listening to the world? Lift the restrictions on #Yarmouk!

Add your voice and say no to malnutrition in #Yarmouk. Pls sign up for our Thunderclap:

Tell #GenevaII Conference on Syria to stop the hunger in #Yarmouk. Add your voice here

2. Then, on Tuesday at 9 a.m. CST (5 p.m. Damascus time), please Tweet some of the following:

Malnourished children, women dying in childbirth. How much longer must the people of #Yarmouk be left to starve?

The international humanitarian community demands safe, regular, permanent access to #Yarmouk & all civilians in #Syria

Hello #GenevaII Conference, are you listening to the world? Lift the restrictions on #Yarmouk!
The children of #Yarmouk demand their dignity. Without it we lose ours.

Their humanity is our humanity. End the suffering of civilians in #Yarmouk and beyond.

We need access to all besieged civilians in Syria. There are many #Yarmouks.


At least 43 Palestinian have starved to death in the past three months in Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus because the Syrian regime placed it under a total siege in July 2013. The delivery of humanitarian assistance, including food and medical supplies, has been prohibited since then, according to UNRWA.

Women are dying while giving birth, and children are suffering from diseases related to severe malnutrition, Gunness wrote in a statement.

”Residents, including infants and children, are subsisting for long periods on diets of stale vegetables, herbs, powdered tomato paste, animal feed and cooking spices dissolved in water,” Gunness said.

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