UN chief uses rare power to warn Security Council of impending ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza

by Joshua Brown
0 comment
Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

In an uncommon move, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres alerted the Security Council to an imminent “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza, advocating for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. In a communication to the council’s 15 members, Guterres highlighted the dire state of Gaza’s humanitarian infrastructure, severely strained by two months of conflict, resulting in significant human distress, widespread destruction, and profound collective trauma. He emphasized the need to protect civilians from further suffering.

Using Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, Guterres informed the council about issues he deems a threat to global peace and security, underscoring the international community’s duty to leverage its influence to avert further escalation and resolve the crisis.

The United Arab Emirates, representing the Arab states on the council, proposed a draft resolution late Wednesday in response to Guterres’ letter, seeking an “immediate humanitarian cease-fire” and noting deep concern about the grave situation in Gaza and the plight of its Palestinian civilian population. This move came after strong support for a cease-fire from the 22-nation Arab Group at the U.N.

The Palestinian U.N. Ambassador, Riyad Mansour, stressed the necessity for the U.N.’s most influential body to call for a conflict cessation. However, the U.S., a close ally of Israel and possessing veto power in the Security Council, has not endorsed a cease-fire. U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood expressed on Tuesday that the Security Council’s role should not interfere with ongoing ground-level diplomacy, despite its limited success.

A delegation of ministers from Arab nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is scheduled to meet U.S. officials in Washington on Thursday to advocate for an immediate cease-fire.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan criticized Guterres’ invocation of Article 99 as a pressure tactic on Israel, accusing him of bias and moral degradation. Erdan contended that the call for a cease-fire essentially supports Hamas’ continued control in Gaza.

In his letter, Guterres condemned the horrific acts of terrorism and brutal killings of over 1,200 Israelis by Hamas militants on October 7, demanding the immediate release of over 130 hostages. While acknowledging the deteriorating situation in Gaza under Israel’s military actions aimed at eliminating Hamas, Guterres warned of the potential complete breakdown of public order due to dire living conditions.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric described invoking Article 99 as a significant constitutional action, last referenced in 1971 by Secretary-General U Thant concerning East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Dujarric emphasized the gravity of the current situation, necessitating such a decisive measure by the secretary-general.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

What did the UN Secretary-General warn the Security Council about?

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza and urged for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Why did Antonio Guterres invoke Article 99 of the U.N. Charter?

Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the U.N. Charter to inform the Security Council about the severe humanitarian and security threat in Gaza, emphasizing the need for international intervention to prevent further escalation and resolve the crisis.

What was the response of the United Arab Emirates to Guterres’ warning?

In response to Guterres’ warning, the United Arab Emirates, as the Arab representative on the council, circulated a draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and expressing concern over the catastrophic situation in Gaza.

What is the stance of the United States regarding a ceasefire in the Israeli-Gaza conflict?

The United States, a close ally of Israel and a member of the Security Council with veto power, has not supported a ceasefire in the Israeli-Gaza conflict, emphasizing the importance of not hindering ongoing ground-level diplomacy.

How did Israel’s U.N. Ambassador react to the Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire?

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan criticized the Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire, accusing him of bias against Israel and arguing that it indirectly supports Hamas’ control in Gaza.

More about Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

  • United Nations Official Website
  • Article 99 of the U.N. Charter
  • U.N. Security Council
  • Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Updates
  • U.S. Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Organization of Islamic Cooperation
  • History of U.N. Involvement in Peacekeeping

You may also like

Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News