Monday 15 July 2024

UN secretary-general invokes Article 99 on Gaza

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres took the rare step of invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter – urging the Security Council to work to “avert a humanitarian catastrophe” with “potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians” in the besieged and warn-torn Gaza Strip.


Article 99 allows the secretary general to bring any issue that “may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security,” to the attention of the council. This is the first time in Guterres’ nearly seven-year tenure that he has used this power.


In a statement, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric described the move as “the most important invocation” of “the most powerful tool that [the Secretary-General] has.”


Guterres’ letter to the council also detailed the high rate of Palestinian fatalities and the collapse of health care services within Gaza.


“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,” he wrote.


“Since the start of Israel’s military operation, more than 15,000 people have reportedly been killed, over 40 percent of whom were children,” he added. “Thousands of others have been injured. More than half of all homes have been destroyed. Some 80 percent of the population of 2.2 million have been forcibly displaced into increasingly smaller areas.”


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