Initiating decisive action, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter. He has formally referred the critical situation in Gaza to the UN Security Council, urging its members to actively address and avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the besieged enclave.
The report states that Guterres personally delivered a letter to Jose De La Gasca, the President of the Security Council. In the letter, Guterres conveyed that the conflict has resulted in "appalling human suffering, physical destruction, and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
Addressing X, Guterres conveyed, "I've just invoked Art.99 of the UN Charter - for the 1st time in my tenure as Secretary-General. Faced with a severe risk of the collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I am urging the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe and appealing for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared."
In the letter, he stated, "More than eight weeks of hostilities in Gaza and Israel have created appalling human suffering, physical destruction, and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
As per CNN, Guterres, in the concluding paragraph of his letter, implored Security Council members to "actively work to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe" and endorse his appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. Article 99 grants the secretary-general the authority to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that, in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
In the letter, he reported, "The hostilities in Gaza and Israel lasting over eight weeks have resulted in grievous human suffering, extensive physical destruction, and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory." He conveyed that more than 1,200 people, including 33 children, fell victim to abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups on October 7, 2023, which he had consistently condemned.
Furthermore, the letter detailed the abduction of 250 individuals, including 34 children, with over 130 still in captivity, emphasizing the immediate and unconditional release of the captives. It also highlighted accounts of appalling sexual violence during the attacks.
He asserted that civilians in Gaza were in grave danger, citing over 15,000 reported deaths since the initiation of Israeli operations. According to the UN chief, the perilous situation includes significant child casualties, with more than 40% of the reported fatalities.
Additionally, thousands have sustained injuries, over half of all homes have been destroyed, and 80% of the 2.2 million population forcibly displaced. The dire circumstances have forced more than 1.1 million people into overcrowded UNRWA facilities, while explosive remnants render areas uninhabitable, leaving civilians with no effective protection.
The healthcare system in Gaza is in critical condition, with just 14 out of 36 hospitals partially functional. Major hospitals are at three times their capacity, facing shortages of supplies and fuel. Thousands of displaced persons are seeking shelter, and the UN chief warns of impending untreated fatalities in the coming days and weeks.
Image source: ANI