New York, 9 December 2023 (TDI): UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, bringing to the attention of the Security Council the deteriorating situation in Gaza and calling for immediate action.
Guterres expressed his deep concern about the escalating crisis, stating that “the situation is rapidly deteriorating, and the potential for further escalation poses a serious threat to regional peace and security.”
Invoking Article 99 is a powerful tool that allows the Secretary-General to directly address the Security Council on matters he deems critical to maintaining international peace and security.
This has only been used sparingly throughout the history of the UN, highlighting the gravity of the current situation.
In his letter to the Security Council president, Guterres highlighted the appalling human suffering, physical destruction, and collective trauma that has resulted from the ongoing conflict.
He called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and urged the international community to take decisive action to address the crisis.
“The international community has a collective responsibility to act to prevent further suffering and protect civilians,” Guterres said. “I urge the Security Council to unite in response to this urgent call and take concrete steps towards ending this crisis.”
Recent years have seen the Council divided on resolutions regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, with the United States often using its veto power to shield Israel from condemnation.
However, mounting pressure from international actors and the growing humanitarian crisis may encourage more proactive engagement.
Guterres’ invocation of Article 99 marks a significant development in the Israel-Palestine conflict. While its immediate impact remains uncertain, it represents a bold attempt to inject urgency and international leverage into a seemingly intractable situation.
The coming weeks and months will be critical in determining whether this action serves as a catalyst for meaningful progress towards a lasting peace or remains a symbolic gesture amid ongoing bloodshed.