UN Security Council Adopts Resolution on Gaza Crisis

UNITED NATIONS, 25 Dec 2023

UN News - TRANSCEND Media Service

A view of the UN Security Council as members vote in favour of the draft resolution on the situation in Gaza on 22 Dec 2023.  UN Photo/Loey Felipe

22 Dec 2023 – The UNSC has adopted a resolution on the ongoing crisis in Gaza, with 13 votes in favour, and the US and Russia abstaining. The resolution, among other points, demands immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip.

In the resolution, the Security Council reaffirmed the obligations of the parties to the conflict under international humanitarian law, especially regarding the protection of civilians and civilian objects, safety of humanitarian personnel, and the provision of humanitarian assistance.

The Council demanded that the parties “allow, facilitate and enable” the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip.

It also requested the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator with responsibility for “facilitating, coordinating, monitoring, and verifying” in Gaza, as appropriate, the humanitarian nature of all relief consignments to the enclave provided through States that are not party to the conflict.

It also called for the “expeditious” establishment of a UN mechanism to accelerate aid consignments to Gaza through States that are not party to the conflict, to expedite, streamline and accelerate assistance while continuing to help ensure that aid reaches its civilian destination.

The Resolution

In the resolution, the Security Council reaffirmed the obligations of the parties to the conflict under international humanitarian law, especially regarding the protection of civilians and civilian objects, safety of humanitarian personnel, and the provision of humanitarian assistance.

The Council demanded that the parties “allow, facilitate and enable” the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip.

It also requested the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator with responsibility for “facilitating, coordinating, monitoring, and verifying” in Gaza, as appropriate, the humanitarian nature of all relief consignments to the enclave provided through States that are not party to the conflict.

It also called for the “expeditious” establishment of a UN mechanism to accelerate aid consignments to Gaza through States that are not party to the conflict, to expedite, streamline and accelerate assistance while continuing to help ensure that aid reaches its civilian destination.

Full Text of the Resolution

Security Council resolution 2720 (2023)

The Security Council,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling all of its relevant resolutions, particularly resolution 2712 (2023), which, inter alia, demands that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians, calls for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to enable full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access and to enable urgent rescue and recovery efforts, and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access,

Reaffirming that all parties to conflicts must adhere to their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable,

Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967, and reiterating the vision of the two-State solution, with the Gaza Strip as part of the Palestinian State,

Expressing deep concern at the dire and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and its grave impact on the civilian population, underlining the urgent need for full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access into and throughout the entire Gaza Strip, and taking note of the concerning reports from the leadership of the United Nations and humanitarian organizations in this regard, reaffirming its strong concern for the disproportionate effect that the conflict is having on the lives and well-being of children, women, and other civilians in vulnerable situations, and stressing the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence,

Stressing the obligation to respect and protect humanitarian relief and medical personnel,

Reaffirming its call for all parties to refrain from depriving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip of basic services and humanitarian assistance indispensable to their survival, consistent with international humanitarian law,

Commending the indispensable and ongoing efforts of the United Nations, its specialized agencies and all humanitarian and medical personnel in the Gaza Strip to alleviate the impact of the conflict on the people in the Gaza Strip, and expressing condolences for all civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, killed in the course of this conflict,

Welcoming the efforts of Egypt to facilitate the use of the Rafah Border crossing by United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners for the provision of humanitarian assistance for people in need throughout the Gaza Strip,

Taking note of the 15 December 2023 decision by the Government of Israel to open its crossing at Karem Abu Salem / Kerem Shalom for direct delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, which should ease congestion and help facilitate the provision of life-saving assistance to those who urgently need it, and emphasizing the need to continue working closely with all relevant parties to expand the delivery and distribution of humanitarian assistance, while confirming its humanitarian nature and ensuring that it reaches its civilian destination,

Encouraging engagement with relevant states in the implementation of this resolution,

Welcoming the implementation of a recent ‘humanitarian pause’ in the Gaza Strip, and expressing appreciation for the diplomatic efforts of Egypt, the State of Qatar, and other states in this regard, and also expressing grave concerns as to the impact the resumption of hostilities has had on civilians,

Recognizing that the civilian population in the Gaza Strip must have access to sufficient quantities of assistance that they need, including enough food, water, sanitation, electricity, telecommunications and medical services essential for their survival, and that the provision of humanitarian supplies in the Gaza Strip needs to be sufficient to alleviate the massive humanitarian needs of the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip, and recognizing the importance of resuming commercial imports of essential goods and services into the Gaza Strip,

Welcoming financial contributions and pledges by member states in support of the civilian population in Gaza, and taking note of the International Humanitarian Conference for the Civilian Population of Gaza held in Paris on 9 November 2023 and its follow-up meeting on 6 December 2023,

1. Reiterates its demand that all parties to the conflict comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, including with regard to the conduct of hostilities and the protection of civilians and civilian objects, humanitarian access, and the protection of humanitarian personnel and their freedom of movement, and the duty, as applicable, of ensuring the food and medical supplies, among others, of the population, recalls that civilian and humanitarian facilities, including hospitals, medical facilities, schools, places of worship, and facilities of the UN, as well as humanitarian personnel, and medical personnel, and their means of transport, must be respected and protected, according to international humanitarian law, and affirms that nothing in this resolution absolves the parties of these obligations;

2. Reaffirms the obligations of the parties to the conflict under international humanitarian law regarding the provision of humanitarian assistance, demands that they allow, facilitate and enable the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip, and in this regard calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities;

3. Demands that the parties to the conflict allow and facilitate the use of all available routes to and throughout the entire Gaza Strip, including border crossings, including full and prompt implementation of the announced opening of the Karem Abu Salem / Kerem Shalom Border Crossing, for the provision of humanitarian assistance in order to ensure that humanitarian personnel and humanitarian assistance, including fuel, food, and medical supplies and emergency shelter assistance, reaches the civilian population in need throughout the Gaza Strip without diversion and through the most direct routes, as well as for material and equipment to repair and ensure the functioning of critical infrastructure and to provide essential services, without prejudice to the obligations of the parties to the conflict under international humanitarian law, and stresses the importance of respecting and protecting border crossings and maritime infrastructure used for the delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale;

4. Requests the Secretary-General, with the objective of expediting the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, to appoint a Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator with responsibility for facilitating, coordinating, monitoring, and verifying in Gaza, as appropriate, the humanitarian nature of all humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza provided through states which are not party to the conflict, and further requests that the Coordinator expeditiously establish a UN mechanism for accelerating the provision of humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza through states which are not party to the conflict, consulting all relevant parties, with the goal of expediting, streamlining, and accelerating the process of providing assistance while continuing to help ensure that aid reaches its civilian destination, and demands that the parties to the conflict cooperate with the Coordinator to fulfill their mandate without delay or obstruction;

5. Requests that the Coordinator be appointed expeditiously;

6. Determines that the Coordinator will have the necessary personnel and equipment in Gaza, under the authority of the United Nations, to perform these, and other functions as determined by the Security Council, and requests that the Coordinator report to the Security Council on its work, with an initial report within 20 days and thereafter every 90 days through 30 September 2024;

7. Demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address medical needs of all hostages;

8. Demands the provision of fuel to Gaza at levels that will meet requisite humanitarian needs;

9. Calls for all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and in this regard deplores all attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as all violence and hostilities against civilians, and all acts of terrorism;

10. Reaffirms the obligations of all parties under international humanitarian law, including with regard to respecting and protecting civilians and taking constant care to spare civilian objects, including such objects critical to the delivery of essential services to the civilian population, and with regard to refraining from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, as well as respecting and protecting humanitarian personnel and consignments used for humanitarian relief operations;

11. Reaffirms that civilian objects, including places of refuge, including within United Nations facilities and their surroundings, are protected under international humanitarian law, and rejects forced displacement of the civilian population, including children, in violation of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law;

12. Reiterates its unwavering commitment to the vision of the two-State solution where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders, consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions, and in this regard stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority;

13. Demands that all parties to the conflict take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel, those of its specialized agencies, and all other personnel engaged in humanitarian relief activities consistent with international humanitarian law, without prejudice to their freedom of movement and access, stresses the need not to hinder these efforts, and recalls that humanitarian relief personnel must be respected and protected;

14. Demands implementation of resolution 2712 (2023) in full, requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council in writing within five working days of the adoption of this resolution on the implementation of resolution 2712 (2023), and thereafter as necessary, and calls upon all parties concerned to make full use of the humanitarian notification and deconfliction mechanisms in place to protect all humanitarian sites, including UN facilities, and to help facilitate the movement of aid convoys, without prejudice to the obligations of the parties to uphold international humanitarian law;

15. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution in the regular reporting to the Council;

16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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