UN chief calls for Security Council action to avert Gaza humanitarian catastrophe

 The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has invoked a rarely used article of the UN Charter, calling on the Security Council to help “avert a humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

In a letter to the Council, Guterres on Wednesday invoked Article 99 that says the UN chief “may bring to attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security,” said a press release by the official website of the United Nations.

This was the first time that Guterres “had felt compelled” to invoke Chapter 99 since he took office in 2017, according to a statement by his Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

In his letter to the Security Council president, the UN chief said that he expects “public order to completely break down soon” amid the constant bombardment of all parts of Gaza and without shelter or the essentials to survive.

Guterres also warned against “a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system” as the current conditions have made it difficult to increase humanitarian supplies and to reach those in need inside Gaza.

The consequences of that have irreversible implications for Palestinians and the peace and security of the entire region, he said, adding that “such an outcome must be avoided at all cost.”

Guterres called on the international community to fulfill the responsibility to use all its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis, and reiterated his appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

The UN Security Council has only passed one resolution demanding “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza since the Israeli regime launched its war on October 7. That resolution was passed in mid-November after four failed attempts to find consensus.

More than 16,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have so far lost their lives in Israel’s air campaign in Gaza. Thousands more remain missing, according to Gaza health officials.

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