Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has raised the humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, with the Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs,Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Crowe is currently in Iran with as part of a Foreign Affairs Committee delegation and they met the Foreign Affairs Minister today.
After the meeting Deputy Crowe said:
“Today we held an engaging and productive meeting with the Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs, where we discussed a variety of issues.
“One issue I raised was the humanitarian crisis in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria which is affecting around 20,000 Palestinian refugees. The refugees have been caught in the crossfire of fighting between rebel groups and the Syrian government.
“As rebel forces refuse to leave the camp it has been besieged by the Syrian army, which is creating a severe humanitarian crisis, as the residents have extremely limited access to food, medicines, and other vital supplies.
“Due to the fighting and the siege the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has been unable to deliver any aid to the camp since last September, and at least 15 people have died of hunger.
“UNRWA states that the residents of the camp are experiencing extreme human suffering in harsh conditions and that residents, including infants and children, have been surviving for long periods on a diet of stale vegetables, animal feed and cooking spices dissolved in water.
“There is no acceptable or justifiable reason for these refugees to be starving and dying of hunger, and it must end.
“I raised the issue with the Iranian Foreign Minister to appeal to him to use his influence in Damascus to try and ensure the Syrian authorities resolve the situation peacefully and allow vital aid to reach these refugees as soon as possible.
“Both the Syrian authorities and the rebel groups must agree to end their hostilities at Yarmouk and immediately allow and facilitate secure humanitarian access to the camp before more refuges die in this worsening humanitarian crisis.”