Friday, March 1, 2024

Guterres invokes Article 99 of UN Charter forcing Security Council to address Gaza war

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter to bring attention to the Security Council over the war on Gaza.

“More than eight weeks of hostilities in Gaza and Israel have created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” Guterres wrote in a post on X along with the letter.

Article 99 is widely considered to be the most powerful diplomatic tool at his disposal.

This is the first time Guterres has invoked the article since he took over the role of UN secretary-general on January 1, 2017.

“More than eight weeks of hostilities in Gaza and Israel have created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” states the letter.

The Security Council failed to pass two resolutions in the past calling for a ceasefire after the United States vetoed it.

The letter comes as a delegation of Arab and Muslim nations will travel to Washington to push for an end to the fighting in Gaza.

“Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” Guterres wrote.

“Amid constant bombardment by the Israel Defense Forces, and without shelter or the essentials to survive, I expect public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible. An even worse situation could unfold, including epidemic diseases and increased pressure for mass displacement into neighbouring countries.”

In Resolution 2712 (2023), the Security Council “calls for the scaling up of the provision of such supplies to meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, especially children.”

The current conditions are making it impossible for meaningful humanitarian operations to be conducted, the UN chief said.

“While delivery of supplies through Rafah continues, quantities are insufficient and have dropped since the pause came to an end. We are simply unable to reach those in need inside Gaza. The capacity of the United Nations and its humanitarian partners has been decimated by supply shortages, lack of fuel, interrupted communications, and growing insecurity. Humanitarian personnel have joined the vast majority of Gazan civilians in evacuating to south Gaza ahead of advancing military operations.

At least 130 UNRWA colleagues have been killed, many with their families. The besieged enclave is facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system.

“The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region. Such an outcome must be avoided at all costs.”

“The international community has a responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis. I urge the members of the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. I reiterate my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared. This is urgent. The civilian population must be spared from greater harm

“With a humanitarian ceasefire, the means of survival can be restored, and humanitarian assistance can be delivered in a safe and timely manner across the Gaza Strip,” he concluded.

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