Security Council to Vote on Resolution to Protect of UN Aid Workers

Fri May 24 2024
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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council will vote this Friday on a resolution that strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian workers and UN personnel while demanding that all combatants adhere to international law in protecting them.

Tabled by Switzerland, the resolution expresses deep concern over the increasing number of attacks and threats against UN and humanitarian personnel, as well as the persistent disregard and violations of international humanitarian law by combatants.

Switzerland’s UN Ambassador, Pascale Baeriswyl, emphasized the resolution’s fundamental objective of safeguarding the staffers who daily risk their lives to assist those affected by armed conflicts. The draft resolution refrains from singling out any specific conflict, although it comes amidst ongoing battles in regions like Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, and Myanmar.

The dire situation in Gaza, where the conflict has witnessed a significant number of attacks on UN and humanitarian workers, underscores the urgency of this resolution.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 190 UN staff members have been killed in the eight-month war between Israel and Hams. The death toll of the UN staff members in the Gaza unprecedented in the organization’s 80-year history.

The war has also seen the killing of other humanitarian personnel, including seven World Central Kitchen workers who died in an Israeli airstrike last month.

Baeriswyl highlighted the timeliness of the resolution, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which she described as the cornerstone of international humanitarian law.

The draft resolution emphasized the obligation for all nations to respect and protect humanitarian and UN personnel in accordance with international law, urging compliance with the principles outlined in the Geneva Conventions.

Furthermore, the resolution condemned all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, against humanitarian and UN personnel.

It urges combatants to adhere to the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution in conducting hostilities, while also facilitating unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in need.

If passed, the resolution would signal the Security Council’s commitment to taking measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian and UN personnel, with the UN Secretary-General tasked with making recommendations within six months to prevent attacks and enhance protection.

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