19 May 2014
Ban Ki-moon: armed groups breached international law by cutting water supplies in Aleppo
Following reports that armed groups have cut water supplies in Aleppo (Syria), leaving at least 2.5 million people with no access to safe water for drinking and sanitation for eight days, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that such deliberate targeting of civilians is a ‘clear breach’ of international law. According to a statement, Mr. Ban ‘notes that preventing people’s access to safe water is a denial of a fundamental human right’, adding that deliberate targeting of civilians and depriving them of essential supplies is a clear breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Although water supplies have since been restored, the Secretary-General urged all parties to ensure that the water supply in Aleppo – and everywhere in Syria – is permanently restored and to refrain from targeting civilian facilities and infrastructure. In the statement, Ban Ki-moon ‘asks Member States and those with influence over all the parties to the conflict to remind them of their obligations’.