UN chief calls for action in Gaza: Urges ceasefire during Ramadan

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, has once again called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as Ramadan begins, stressing the urgency to halt preventable deaths. "Despite the commencement of Ramadan, the violence in Gaza, characterized by killings, bombings, and bloodshed, has not ceased," Guterres remarked during a press briefing.

Publication: 12.03.2024 - 10:50
UN chief calls for action in Gaza: Urges ceasefire during Ramadan
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He emphasized the importance of respecting the spirit of Ramadan by ceasing hostilities and ensuring the rapid and extensive delivery of essential aid. Guterres also demanded the prompt release of all individuals held hostage by Hamas, highlighting the continuous civilian casualties and destruction that have reached unprecedented levels during his tenure.

Guterres pointed out the trickle of life-saving aid reaching the region, if at all, and decried the breakdown of international humanitarian law. He specifically warned against the severe impact of a potential Israeli attack on Rafah, which could worsen the suffering in Gaza.

The Secretary-General acknowledged the calls from leaders for a humanitarian ceasefire and the release of hostages but noted that the most powerful appeals have come from the families affected by the conflict. He urged all parties to listen to these families and take immediate action to support desperate civilians.

Addressing Hostilities in Sudan

Guterres also called for a cessation of hostilities in Sudan during Ramadan, highlighting the dire situation faced by the Sudanese people, including widespread hunger and suffering. The conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which erupted in April 2023, has led to thousands of deaths, mass displacement, and a food security crisis.

He appealed to political, religious, and community leaders globally to embrace empathy, action, and peace during this holy period, underlining the need to end the grave suffering experienced in both Gaza and Sudan.

The Situation in Gaza

Since October 7, following a cross-border attack by Hamas, Israel has conducted a deadly military offensive in the Gaza Strip, resulting in nearly 1,200 deaths initially. The conflict has since claimed the lives of over 31,100 Palestinians, predominantly women and children, and injured more than 72,700, amid widespread destruction and shortages of basic necessities.

The Israeli blockade has severely restricted access to food, clean water, and medical supplies, pushing 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement and damaging or destroying 60% of the region's infrastructure. The blockade has led to at least 27 deaths from malnutrition and dehydration, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israel is currently facing accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice, with a preliminary ruling in January mandating Tel Aviv to cease genocidal acts and ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza's civilians.

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