UN Security Council approves motion denouncing attacks on humanitarian workers | United Nations News

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution denouncing attacks on UN staff and humanitarian workers in conflict zones, as a record number of UN staff have been killed in Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip. .

The resolution, which calls on all countries to protect humanitarian workers in accordance with international law, was approved on Friday with 14 votes in favor, zero against and one abstention.

“This resolution (sends) a strong message,” said Pascale Baeriswyl, the U.N. ambassador to Switzerland, who proposed the measure.

“This resolution reaffirms the responsibility of States and parties to the conflict to respect and protect the civilian population and, more particularly, to respect and protect these men and women who work every day alongside those affected by armed conflicts” , Baeriswyl told the council.

The resolution was passed amid threats and attacks against aid workers in conflict zones around the world, including Sudan and Ukraine.

But since October, the Gaza Strip has seen an unprecedented number of deaths among UN staff and other humanitarian workers.

More than 190 UN officials have been killed in Israel’s war in Gaza, according to the world body’s latest figures, sparking widespread concern and calls for a permanent ceasefire in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Robert Wood, deputy US ambassador to the UN, said Friday that “the harm to the very courageous workers who are risking their lives to help Palestinian civilians (in Gaza) is unacceptable.”

Wood condemned the Palestinian group Hamas for taking captives from Israel and holding them in the coastal enclave and said Israel must do “much more to prevent the death and harm of humanitarian workers and UN staff.”

“We insist that all attacks against humanitarian personnel in Gaza, regardless of whether they target local or international personnel, be fully investigated, and that those responsible for any wrongdoing be held fully and publicly accountable,” he said.

However, Washington faces calls to do much more to help reach a ceasefire in Gaza, including by conditioning military and diplomatic support to Israel.

But the administration of US President Joe Biden continues to provide unconditional support to its main ally in the Middle East. Since October, the country has vetoed three separate efforts in the Security Council to secure a ceasefire.

Al Jazeera diplomatic editor James Bays noted that Friday’s resolution was passed shortly after the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest court, ordered Israel to immediately stop its military offensive in the city. from Rafah, southern Gaza.

Wood was asked about the ICJ ruling while addressing the Security Council, Bays said, but the U.S. envoy had no immediate response.

“The ruling of the International Court of Justice largely coincides with what the United States has been asking for,” Bays reported.

“But it is a strong and binding ruling of international law, and it puts Israel in a difficult situation; and diplomatically, in the end, when push comes to shove, the United States has supported Israel through every twist and turn since October 7.”

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomed the adoption of the Security Council resolution on Friday.

The motion, the ICRC said in a statement, serves as “a clear reminder of the absolute need and obligation of all parties to armed conflicts to respect and protect humanitarian personnel, their facilities and assets.”

“Just as civilians are paying an increasingly unbearable price in today’s conflicts, so are humanitarian personnel, who face daily risks such as verbal threats and intimidation, disappearances, serious injuries and death,” the committee said.

“The unacceptably high price paid by humanitarian workers must stop, and only the vigorous implementation of this resolution in practice will make a difference on the ground.”

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