UN Secretary General António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter on Wednesday due to humanitarian conditions in Gaza amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
In a letter posted across Guterres’ social media platforms, he stressed that the health care system in Gaza is “collapsing” partially due to Israeli bombings on hospitals in Gaza. Human Rights Watch previously called for these attacks to be investigated as war crimes because Israel has allegedly targeted healthcare facilities, personnel and transport.
Article 99 states, “[t]he Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” This article is rarely invoked. The last time a secretary general used Article 99 was in 1989 due to the civil war in Lebanon.
Guterres stated that Gaza is facing a “severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system,” and further stressed that international institutions have an obligation to help this conflict come to an end. Humanitarian aid convoys are unable to provide food, water and fuel supplies to those in Gaza due to ongoing fighting. Guterres echoed others’ calls for a resumption of the humanitarian ceasefire that happened last month, which resulted in an exchange of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.
Recently, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) reported missile launches from Lebanon into Israel. The IDF also claimed to neutralize a Hamas terrorist cell hiding in tunnel systems in Khan Yunis. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s (MOH) spokesperson reported, “[t]he Israeli occupation intends to clear the health presence of northern Gaza,” as the Baptist Hospital in Gaza is facing limited operational capacities due to the high number of wounded people. The MOH called for international support to help aid those injured.
More than 15,000 Palestinian people have died as a result of the war since October 7 according to MOH, with 6,000 children casualties. About 1,200 Israeli people have also died since the escalation in October according to the IDF.