I am writing in response to a series of articles asserting that the Syrian government “controls UN aid” and that the UN has channelled funding intended for life-saving humanitarian response to the “Assad regime” (Reports, 30 and 31 August). The UN welcomes public scrutiny of its humanitarian operations in Syria. Our programmes, partners, contracting and financial details are published online, available to the media and public alike. However, your articles mischaracterise the UN-led humanitarian operation in Syria, fail to offer a balanced perspective on the challenges of operating in Syria and discredit the courageous work of national and international humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives on a daily basis to help millions of people in need in one of the world’s most vicious conflicts.
Impartiality in humanitarian terms means that we provide life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to civilians based on their humanitarian needs without consideration of where they are, which side in the conflict they may sympathise with, their nationality, social status, gender, age, religious belief or any other consideration. This fundamental notion of impartiality guides our work and is non-negotiable, in Syria or anywhere else.