UNSC adopts resolution calling for urgent humanitarian pauses throughout Gaza
United Nations: The UN Security Council has called for urgent humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout Gaza to allow unhindered humanitarian access in the strip, finally overcoming deadlock and adopting a resolution in the month-long Israel-Hamas conflict.
The 15-nation Council adopted a resolution on Wednesday that called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access.
The Malta-drafted resolution was adopted with 12 votes in favour, none against and three abstentions from Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The resolution calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to enable, consistent with international humanitarian law, the full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access” for United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners to facilitate the continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services throughout the Gaza Strip.
The adoption of the resolution came after four failed attempts last month in the Council to take action on allowing humanitarian access in the Israel-Hamas conflict that broke out after the militant group attacked Israel on October 7.
The resolution by the US that would have affirmed the right of member states to defend themselves against threats to peace and security posed by acts of terrorism, was vetoed by Russia and China.
Two resolutions by Moscow failed to get sufficient votes in their favour while the Brazil text that would have called for humanitarian pauses to allow full access for aid to the Gaza strip was vetoed by the US.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in her explanation of the vote, said that the text does not include condemnation of Hamas but this is the first time the Council has ever adopted a resolution that “even mentions the word ‘Hamas’.”
She said that while Washington fully supports the resolution’s call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, “ultimately, the United States could not vote yes on a text that did not condemn Hamas or reaffirm the right of all Member States to protect their citizens from terrorist attacks.”
UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said while the resolution is absolutely necessary, Britain “regrets” that the first resolution passed by the Council on the issue could not clearly condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks of October 7.
“The barbarity of those attacks should be clear to us all. That is why we have abstained today. But let me be absolutely clear, it was vital and overdue for the Council to speak on this crisis and we strongly support the resolution’s purpose: to get aid in, and hostages out,” Woodward said.
Russia’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that Moscow abstained on the draft resolution and “could not but respond to calls, including from countries in the region,” for the Security Council to adopt at least some humanitarian product.
“That is the only reason why we turned a blind eye to the many shortcomings of the draft, the main one being the absence of a call for an immediate ceasefire. This was and remains an imperative,” the Russian envoy said.
He added that any humanitarian action requires an immediate cessation of hostilities. “One cannot clear the debris and evacuate people when under fire, and also it is impossible to bring in much-needed fuel, without which Gaza’s hospitals are about to run out of energy.”