New Delhi,In an unprecedented move, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter in response to the intensifying conflict in the Gaza Strip, marking the first utilization of this provision in decades. Expressing deep concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, Guterres urgently called for a humanitarian ceasefire to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza.
Article 99, a rarely utilized provision in the UN Charter, grants the Secretary-General the authority to bring attention to any matter deemed a threat to international peace and security. This discretionary power, as noted in a 1945 report, requires the Secretary-General to exercise the highest qualities of political judgment, tact, and integrity. Historical instances of invoking Article 99 include its use during the upheaval in the Republic of the Congo in 1960 and a complaint by Tunisia in 1961 against France’s military actions.
Guterres, in a letter addressed to the President of the UN Security Council, underscored the alarming risks posed to international peace and security, emphasizing the immediate need for intervention. He called on the Security Council to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and echoed his appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire in the region. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric described the invocation of Article 99 as a “very dramatic constitutional move.”
In response to Guterres’s letter, the United Arab Emirates presented a draft resolution to the Security Council, demanding an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza conflict. Diplomats anticipate the resolution to be put to a vote on Friday, coinciding with Guterres’s briefing on Gaza. However, adoption requires at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes from the five permanent members, a scenario that may face challenges given the expressed support for Israel’s actions by the United States and Britain.
The invocation of Article 99 underscores the gravity of the Gaza crisis and the imperative for swift international diplomatic efforts to address the humanitarian plight and establish a sustainable ceasefire in the region. As the global community monitors developments, the unprecedented use of Article 99 signals a heightened sense of urgency and collective responsibility in the face of a deepening crisis.
Stay tuned for comprehensive updates on the evolving situation in Gaza and the international community’s responses to the UN Secretary-General’s invocation of Article 99.