Guterres calls on UNSC to declare ceasefire in Gaza

Guterres calls on UNSC to declare ceasefire in Gaza

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: In a dramatic constitutional move, the UN secretary-general has invoked one of the few powers that the Charter gives him, to call on the Security Council to declare a ceasefire to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza that could have “potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region.”

He cautioned that such an outcome should be avoided “at all cost.” In a letter to the Security Council seen by Arab News, Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which says 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.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said this was the first time Guterres had felt compelled to invoke the article since taking office in 2017. In his letter, Guterres said the more than eight weeks of fighting had “created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

He added: “Since the start of Israel’s military operation, more than 15,000 people have reportedly been killed, over 40 per cent of whom were children. Thousands of others have been injured. More than half of all homes have been destroyed.” He said: “Some 80 per cent of the population of 2.2 million has been forcibly displaced, into increasingly smaller areas. More than 1.1 million people have sought refuge in UNRWA facilities across Gaza, creating overcrowded, undignified and unhygienic conditions. — Arab News