The words of our colleague Nivin Hotary speaking at the UN Security Council

The words of our colleague Nivin Hotary speaking at the UN Security Council hearing in regards to the implementation of Syria’s cessation of hostilities from Syrian’s perspective inside #Ghouta.

Nivin has risked her life and faces the ongoing bombardment to make her intervention and testify about the situation of civilians, especially the mothers.

“My name is Nivin and I am 38 years old. I want to introduce myself as a mother of two children from besieged #EasternGhouta. My daughter Maya is five years old. Yes, she was born during the revolution. A few months after I gave birth to her the electricity was cut across all of Ghouta. And it still is to this day.

Maya hasn’t been able to take all of her vaccinations. There are many children who haven’t received a single one. Right now, medicine, baby food and medical supplies are part of the Syrian regime’s red lines and they have categorically forbidden them from entering Ghouta. I believe staff on الأمم المتحدة convoys know this.

My daughter heard the sound of shelling for the first time while she was still inside me. I ran with her then in search for a safe place. And we are still searching now… searching for a safe place.

We have been besieged for three weeks in basements that I could only describe as below the standards of the luxury of your council chambers. I will just speak briefly about these past three weeks.

I testify that I personally, like all other families in Ghouta, am forced to remain in these basements that are in fact cellars and not shelters. They are moldy dungeons of dirt, not equipped with water services or plumbing because they are intended to be the cellars of buildings, not built to be fit for human life. I am forced to be here because the Assad regime and Russian forces are bombing us daily with barrel bombs, cluster munitions, Napalm and all other types of bombs.

I testify that I have personally been exposed to shelling with cluster munitions, chlorine gas, mortars and what we call “elephant” missiles.

And I have lived the moments of terror that accompany the sound of the bombing. The sound that leaves us deaf for seconds afterward. And I know the pressure these strikes create after and the fires which they ignite. I won’t tell you about the injuries they leave behind so that I don’t fray at your emotions.

I testify that we are eating one meal a day on most days and most of the time this meal is the single slice of barley bread. And I know there are people who dream of getting hold of a meal of a slice of barley bread and aren’t even able to secure that.

I testify that there are children suffering many diseases because of the difficulty of this life. Respiratory diseases have spread because of the cold and humidity of the cellars and gastrointestinal diseases because of the type of food they are eating.

I testify that terror and fear have seized our children and you are aware of the psychological consequences of them now and in the future.

Our children in their first years of life have not been lowering their hands off their ears because they have lived through the bombing and through the sounds and the fear that accompanies it.

There are many tragic stories that you may prefer not to hear but they are obvious given the circumstances.

I testify that I have heard of several births in these dirt basements. The mother couldn’t be moved to the hospitals because so many of them are out of service, targeted by the regime from day one. Families are unable to move the mother to any clean place outside of the basements because of the intensity of fire targeting us daily from the regime and Russia and which does not even stop at night.

I testify that Russia has not complied with its temporary truce and the bombing has continued throughout the hours of truce.

I testify that there are sick patients and the elderly in these basements in need of urgent treatment.

I testify that if there’s no effective decision taken in the next hours to stop the massacres, we will be facing a new Srebrenica. This is because the regime is advancing through the territory of Ghouta and we know from previous experience that when the regime enters it carries out massacres and field executions.

I don’t know how you accept for us to live this catastrophic reality for seven years which the Russian delegate’s forces are directly involved in. And in fact, you are all involved in as a result of the weakness of your Council’s resolutions.

Your role is to maintain international peace and security. Missiles and shells and airstrikes and barrel bombs and chlorine and Napalm aren’t the means for you to carry out this role assigned to you.

Your role requires decisiveness and immediate action to stop massacres and ethnic cleansing which you do not want to happen and which you do not want responsibility for.

Your responsibility toward the children and women and elderly and history requires immediate action to end this catastrophe.

Taking immediate decisive and deterrent measures to stop this massacre will be the best service you can offer to humanity.

This must be particularly apparent after these brief minutes of my explaining the catastrophe which we are living through because of your delays over the past seven years.

Understand that displacement for us is punishment and not a solution.

Our demand since the beginning of the revolution is for our right to choose who governs us.

And I believe all of you in your countries want the same rights. Therefore do not punish us with displacement and propose it as a solution.

By virtue of our experience with the regime, we are certain of the fates that await those who leave through the crossing that the regime claims to open: detention, torture and death. These are the most probable outcomes.

You have a duty towards us and the good of your people. We are all waiting for a serious decision to be taken at the end of this meeting. A decision with guarantees. A decision to be implemented immediately and not with the delay of a few hours because every minute is an opportunity for our killing.

A clear decision without any loopholes, requiring a complete halt to the bombing and the opening of all crossings in order for the siege to be completely lifted.

I propose that you open an office in Ghouta with your representatives present in order to make sure your decision is being seriously implemented.

The fate of 400,000 people besieged in eastern Ghouta is in your hands now.

Please, for once, make a decision that will restore life to hundreds of thousands in Ghouta threatened by death under the rubble of their own homes. So many of us have already died this way.

Finally, I would like to address the Russian and Chinese delegates. You are contributing to our killing every time you use your veto against us.

Please, this time, act with your humanity and do not use your veto to further our killing.
Thank you.”