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Security Council demands protection for humanitarian workers

United Nations, May 24 (Prensa Latina) The UN Security Council today approved a resolution strongly condemning attacks on humanitarian workers while calling on all parties to the conflict to guarantee their security and access.

With 14 votes in favor and one abstention (Russia), the document presented by Switzerland emphasizes the protection of personnel hired at the national and local level by the international organization.

“These people are the backbone of humanitarian assistance and protection and constitute the overwhelming majority, more than 90 percent of the affected personnel,” acknowledged the Swiss ambassador, Pascale Baeriswyl.

The text confirms a deep concern for the vulnerability of humanitarians while emphasizing the necessary concerted efforts and concrete risk mitigation strategies to improve their security.

Furthermore, it calls for an end to the indiscriminate use of explosive devices in violation of international humanitarian law.

The resolution condemns disinformation, manipulation and incitement to violence against humanitarian workers and UN staff, calling for appropriate measures.

Likewise, it calls for full, prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and international law committed against United Nations personnel and its partners.

The Russian representation denounced, however, the pressure from some delegations to omit several comments when explaining the reason for their abstention.

That nation’s ambassador at the meeting, Anna Evstigneeva, mentioned, among others, the lack of provisions on accountability for violations of international humanitarian law in the context of certain international courts and tribunals and the proposed parameters to guarantee humanitarian access.

For his part, the Palestinian ambassador, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the Council’s decision on the instrument which, he assured, “is adapted to Gaza without necessarily mentioning it.”

The text refers to the protection of civilians, international personnel, including those of the UN and specifically those of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) while condemning the murder of hundreds of international personnel, he said.

According to UN figures, 91 humanitarian workers were killed, 120 injured and 53 kidnapped in 2023, not including incidents in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Since October 7, 224 humanitarian workers have lost their lives in the conflict in Gaza, including more than 190 members of UNRWA and other United Nations agencies.