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UN Security Council Decries Attacks    05/24 06:30


   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to 
vote Friday on a resolution that strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian 
workers and U.N. personnel, and demands that all combatants protect them in 
accordance with international law.

   The Swiss-sponsored resolution expresses grave concern at the growing number 
of attacks and threats against U.N. and humanitarian personnel along with the 
continuing disregard and violations of international humanitarian law by 

   "The goal of the resolution is as simple as it is important," Switzerland's 
U.N. Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl told The Associated Press on Thursday. "It's 
about protecting the men and women who work and risk their lives -- every day 
-- to help people affected by armed conflict."

   The draft resolution does not single out any conflict, but it is being voted 
on as battles rage in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar and many other hotspots 
around the world.

   It is the seven-month war in Gaza, however, that has seen the greatest 
number of attacks on U.N. and humanitarian personnel. Over 190 U.N. staff have 
been killed, a death toll unprecedented in the United Nations' nearly 80-year 
history, according to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

   The war has also seen the killing of other humanitarian personnel, including 
seven World Central Kitchen workers who died in an Israeli airstrike last month.

   Baeriswyl said in a statement to AP that the resolution is being put to a 
vote at a very timely moment. The Geneva Conventions, which Baeriswyl described 
as the cornerstone of international humanitarian law and a reflection of our 
common humanity, commemorates its 75th anniversary in August.

   The draft resolution calls on all countries to respect and protect 
humanitarian and U.N. personnel as required by international law. And it calls 
on all nations and parties to armed conflict to respect international 
humanitarian law and their obligations under the Geneva Conventions. It 
"strongly condemns attacks and all forms of violence, including sexual and 
gender-based violence, threats and intimidation against humanitarian personnel 
and United Nations and associated personnel."

   The draft urges combatants "to respect the principles of distinction, 
proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities and refrain from 
attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to 
the survival of the civilian population."

   The proposed resolution also urges warring parties to facilitate "full, 
safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians in need, and to 
promote the safety, security and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel 
and United Nations and associated personnel."

   On another issue, the draft condemns "disinformation, information 
manipulation and incitement to violence" against humanitarian and U.N. staff 
and it encourages all countries and the United Nations to take action to 
address these threats.

   If approved, the resolution would express the council's determination to 
take steps to provide for the safety and security of humanitarian and U.N. 
staff. It would ask the U.N. Secretary-General to make recommendations within 
six months on measures to prevent attacks, ensure accountability and enhance 
protection of humanitarian and U.N. staff.

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