UNSC adopts resolution for protection of humanitarian volunteers News
UNSC adopts resolution for protection of humanitarian volunteers

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday adopted a resolution calling on states to respect and protect the United Nations and humanitarian personnel as per international law. Resolution 2730 (2024), which was proposed by Switzerland and went through a detailed discussion on Tuesday, was adopted by a 14-0 vote along with an abstention from Russia.

The resolution urged the parties and nations in conflict to protect humanitarian workers and conduct themselves in accordance with international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention.

Switzerland’s ambassador to the UN Pascale Baeriswyl applauded the firm support given to the resolution by the member states, underscoring the need and duty for the protection of the personnel and volunteers who are providing support to individuals in need in conflict areas. She emphasized the duty to protect regional humanitarian personnel, who account for more than 90 percent of the total casualties in conflict areas. Baeriswyl also highlighted the new challenges facing the UN and humanitarian personnel in the current era, including disinformation and misinformation.

In her proposal of the resolution, Baeriswyl stated:

Today, there are over 120 armed conflicts around the world. Millions of people are suffering and need humanitarian assistance. Yet, violence against humanitarian and U.N. personnel is on the rise. In 2023 alone, more than 250 humanitarian personnel were killed.

Other member states of the current term of the UNSC also voiced their strong support for the proposed resolution, including Japan, Algeria, Mozambique, Guyana, the United Kingdom and Slovenia. The Republic of Korea applauded the resolution’s emphasis on emboldening and protecting women humanitarian workers and leveraging new technology in their method of personnel protection.

Russia’s UN deputy ambassador Anna Evstigneeva applauded and paid homage to the “courage and the selflessness” of the UN volunteers and humanitarian workers, but stated that it was “regrettable that, owing to the pressure of some Western delegations, a number of comments were left out.”

The resolution did not name any particular conflict, but multiple members mentioned or implied concern for the ongoing conflicts in Palestine, Syria, Myanmar, Ukraine and Sudan.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in November stated that “[t]he nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis,” citing that more UN aid workers had been killed in Gaza than in any other comparable period in the organization’s history. Guterres recently asked for an independent investigation into the deaths of all 196 aid workers who were killed in Gaza.