UN adopts resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza

December 13, 2023, 11:12 am

<p>United Nations <em>(File photo)</em></p>

United Nations (File photo)

WASHINGTON – The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a draft resolution Tuesday demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

The non-binding resolution, presented by Egypt with the support of nearly 100 countries, passed with 153 votes in favor as the 193-member General Assembly gathered for an emergency special session on Palestine.

Ten countries, including the US, Israel, and Austria, voted against the resolution, while 23 countries including the UK, Germany, Italy, and Ukraine abstained from voting.

In addition to demanding a ceasefire, the resolution expressed grave concern over the "catastrophic humanitarian situation" in the Gaza Strip and the suffering of Palestinian civilians.

It also emphasized that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations "must be protected" under international humanitarian law while demanding all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians.

The draft resolution also demanded the "immediate and unconditional release" of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access.

In the resolution, a reference was made to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the resolutions regarding the question of Palestine.

Recalling all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, it also noted the invoking by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres of Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since he assumed the organization's top post in 2017 for the establishment of a ceasefire.

It also noted a letter by Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to the president of the General Assembly drawing attention to the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

The US proposed an amendment to the resolution to condemn the Palestinian group Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack on Israel while Austria proposed clarifying that the hostages are "held by Hamas and other groups."

Both proposals were rejected at the UN General Assembly.

This came after the US vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on Friday that demanded an immediate ceasefire to halt the ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip as the death toll continues to mount.

In October, the General Assembly voted in favor of a draft resolution calling for "an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities" with 121 countries in favor and 14 countries against – including the US – and 44 abstaining.

UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but they carry political weight. (Anadolu)