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UN Secretary-General invokes Article 99 on humanitarian crisis in Gaza: Why and what it means?

Israel-Hamas War: As the death toll in Israeli bombardments on Gaza crosses 16,000, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has decided to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter and urged the UN Security Council to act on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The development comes as Israel increased the intensity of its operations, especially in the areas of southern Gaza with Israel’s defence leadership claiming that “half of Hamas’ battalion commanders” are killed.

“I’ve just invoked Art.99 of the UN Charter – for the 1st time in my tenure as Secretary-General. Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” said in a post on X.

What is Article 99 of the UN Charter?

As per the UN Charter, Article 99 is an independent tool in the hands of the Secretary-General who “may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” The special powers allow the UN Secretary-General to call a meeting of the Security Council on an emerging situation of international concern.

The invocation of Article 99 by the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres comes as the 15-member UN Security Council, which is its most powerful body has not adopted any resolutions on a ceasefire in Gaza between Israel Defence Forces and Hamas militants.

If the UN Security Council chooses to act on the advice of the United Nations Secretary-General and successfully adopts a resolution urging both parties to commit to a ceasefire, then it can use various options to get the ceasefire executed like deployment of international forces to maintain peace or sanction one or both parties involved in the conflict.

However, the resolution on the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas does not seem to be around the corner as the five permanent members of the Security Council have expressed different views on the conflict, with the US even supplying arms to Israel in its fight against the Hamas militants.




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Published: 07 Dec 2023, 04:24 PM IST


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