For the first time, United NationsSecretary-General António Guterres has used a power which forces the agency's Security Council to review the ongoing “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.
In a letter to José Javier De la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, the current UN Security Council president, Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which states the Secretary-General "may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
The Security Council has the ability to investigate international disputes, as well as impose their solutions, which can include armament regulations, economic sanctions by UN members, and even military action.
Guterres' invocation forces the council to look into the “appalling human suffering, physical destruction, and collective trauma" Palestinians have experienced over the past two months, which the Secretary-General said he believes will cause “public order to completely break down due to desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible."
Guterres wrote that "there is no effective protection of civilians" in Gaza. More than 16,000 people have been killed, according to the latest figures, 40 percent of whom were children. Over 80 percent of Gaza's 2.2 million civilians have been forcibly displaced.
Israel resumes bombing in Gaza
Only 14 hospitals out of 36 facilities are "even partially functional," Guterres noted. The "collapsing" healthcare system has caused over 1.1 million at refuge in UN facilities, creating "overcrowded, undignified, and unhygienic conditions."
"Hospitals have turned into battlegrounds," he wrote, emphasizing, "Nowhere is safe in Gaza."
While the temporary truce allowed for some aid to enter Gaza, Guterres said that "quantities are insufficient and have dropped since the pause came to an end," leaving organizations "simply unable to reach those in need inside Gaza." He reiterated his “urgent appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire to allow the means of survival.”
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