The Situation in Al-Yarmouk Refugee Camp Is A Heartbreaking Catastrophe – by Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
« The current situation in the al-Yarmouk refugee camp is a heartbreaking catastrophe, » PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement which PNN received.
« Since December 2012, tens of thousands of men, women and children, most of whom are Palestinian refugees, have been forced to flee and have had their lives torn apart by war, Ashrawi added.
For over 700 days, the camp has been the victim of a draconian siege, which has resulted in the death by starvation of at least 200 Palestinians. The PLO, through its envoys, has been trying for years to lift the siege. Today, the camp’s population is less than 18,000 compared to over 160,000 before the siege began.
Ashrawi pointed out the urgent need for all countries to intervene immediately and work together to provide emergency relief and put an end to the bloodshed and the loss of innocent lives in the al-Yarmouk refugee camp.
« We call on all members of the international community, particularly the United Nations, European Union and the United States, to safeguard the innocent people of Yarmouk and ensure that all sides commit to a permanent ceasefire. »
Statement concluded that the tragic circumstances in the al-Yarmouk camp also serve as an important reminder that the Palestinian refugee question must be resolved.
« Palestinian refugees have suffered for far too long, and it is high time that their plight is recognized by the international community and put to an end in accordance with international law and conventions, including the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. »
PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Saeb Erekat on the situation at Al Yarmouk Camp: « The persecution and slaughtering of Palestinian refugees continues in a conflict that isn’t theirs »
For four years now, Al- Yarmouk refugee camp continues to be the victim of the internal Syrian conflict despite the repeated reiteration by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the vast majority of the Palestinian groups of our longstanding position of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.
Reports of kidnappings, beheadings and mass killings are coming out from Al- Yarmouk, which is under a brutal campaign of murder and occupation at the hands of the terrorist group of Daesh and its allies.
The priority must be to save the Palestinian refugees in the camp by creating a safe passage for them out of the death trap that Al- Yarmouk has become. We call upon the United Nations and other involved organizations, including the ICRC, as well as the Syrian government to take all necessary measures to immediately evacuate civilians. Time is quickly running out.
This humanitarian disaster is a further reminder of the need to realize the inalienable right of return for all Palestine refugees, in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions. In the meantime, the tragedy unfolding in Al-Yarmouk shall remain a testament to the collective human failure of protecting civilians in times of war.
date : 05/04/2015