The United Nations Security Council has voted for a resolution on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which demands parties to the conflict to “allow, facilitate and enable the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale” to Gaza civilians.
The resolution falls short of demanding a ceasefire, calling instead to “create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities”.
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) welcomes the resolution, as it aims to improve conditions on the ground for humanitarian agencies to deliver much-needed aid supplies in response to the urgent need in Gaza.
However, ACFID hopes a permanent ceasefire will be achieved swiftly. A ceasefire is necessary to stop civilian suffering and to address the ongoing devastation.
Now this resolution has passed, effective implementation is needed so that humanitarian agencies can work safely and at scale.
Israel has had exclusive control over the access and inspection of aid going into Gaza. This resolution, if implemented successfully, will see the UN take over the monitoring of aid access, inspection and delivery.
ACFID is relieved the UN aid mechanism made it through into the final resolution text. It is absolutely necessary that aid delivery is overseen by a party independent of the conflict.
Improved humanitarian access will help mitigate the growing hunger crisis in the region, with the World Food Programme confirming that the entire population of Gaza are in crisis levels of food insecurity, with 26 per cent of Gazans experiencing catastrophic hunger.
The death toll in Palestine has reached 20,000, including 8,000 children. Nearly two million people have been displaced, according to the UN.
“What’s needed is urgent implementation of this resolution, so that humanitarian agencies in the region have unimpeded access to Gazan civilians in desperate need of food, water and medicines,” said ACFID CEO, Marc Purcell.
“At the same time, it is vital that all hostages currently being held by Hamas are released and that a lasting ceasefire is established,” he said.
Currently, civilians in Gaza are subject to indiscriminate airstrikes and a widespread blockade leading to shortages of food and medicine.
The successful UNSC vote comes after four delays over five days. The main sticking points were language in the draft text demanding a permanent ceasefire, as well as language pertaining to the UN aid monitoring mechanism. The US, which has veto powers in the Security Council, abstained from voting on the resolution – allowing it to pass.
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