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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
Security Council calls for Gaza ceasefire
09 January 2009 / 01:31

[Dateline: New York | Author:  iSeek]

Security Council Adopts Ceasefire Agreement in Gaza on 8 January 2009 | Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten (276841) Security Council negotiations resulting in a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza superseded the need for the previously-scheduled emergency special session of the General Assembly, while other parts of the UN system are working to end the violence and to assist civilians affected by the conflict.

Among other things, the resolution also calls for the unimpeded provision throughout Gaza of food, fuel and medical treatment, and intensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling.

The full text of the resolution and a summary of the meeting is available online in a press release.

Fourteen of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour, with the United States abstaining.

Although Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon said he was “heartened and relieved” at the resolution’s adopted he added, “we also all know that more will be needed, and that a political way forward is required to deliver long-term security and peace.  My visit to the region next week will focus on helping to ensure that the ceasefire is implemented, that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those in need and encouraging the diplomatic efforts currently underway” (full statement).

According to spokesperson Michele Montas, “The Secretary-General continues his around-the-clock efforts with world leaders to achieve an immediate ceasefire” (briefing transcript).

UN System updates

A Palestinian boy amidst the debris of a destroyed house, in Gaza City | Credit: WFP web siteOn the ground in Gaza, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) suspended food delivery operations on Thursday after Israeli strikes killed one of its drivers and injured a second.

The body of another UN worker killed in a bombing several days ago was found today and UN officials said the suspension would continue until they received adequate assurances from Israel that such incidents will not be repeated (related press briefing transcript).

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed a special session of the Human Rights Council on Friday in Geneva which had been called to discuss “the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the occupied Gaza Strip.”

“The vicious cycle of provocation and retribution must be brought to an end,” High Commissioner Pillay said, pointing out that the ongoing conflict has already caused the loss of hundreds of lives, and scores, including children, died or were wounded in these attacks (full statement).

While UNRWA has suspended its supplies for the 750,000 people classified as refugees, a further 250,000 of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants receive food aid from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which has decided to scale up its operations (related story).

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman voiced deep concern that the ongoing violence had forced UNRWA to suspend operations, saying, “This can only deepen an already critical humanitarian situation and put children at even greater risk of death or permanent damage. The distribution of food, water, fuel and medicine should not be impeded” (full statement). 

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres told the Security Council that, with Gaza’s borders closed, the civilian population cannot flee to safety elsewhere. He called for strict adherence to humanitarian principles in and around Gaza, including respect for the universal right to seek and receive asylum (related story).

Some material for this story was taken from the following UN News Centre stories:

Security Council overwhelmingly calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Major UN agency suspends Gaza relief operations after Israeli strike kills driver