UNSC to vote on Maltese resolution on children in Gaza

The resolution calls for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip; the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children; and a refrainment from depriving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip of basic services and humanitarian assistance indispensable to their survival.

At 9pm Malta time (3pm in New York) today, the United Nations Security Council is set to vote on a draft resolution presented by Malta that aims at providing immediate hope to the families of hostages, especially the children hostages, and to the children of Gaza.

The resolution calls for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip; the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children; and a refrainment from depriving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip of basic services and humanitarian assistance indispensable to their survival.

In the meantime, Malta’s Permanent Representation to the United Nations in New York continues to put in hard work – together with the diplomatic representatives of the other nine non-permanent Members States of the UNSC – on a text for a resolution they hope can garner consensus and address the dire situation on the ground in Gaza. Negotiations spearheaded by Malta on this other resolution have been ongoing for the past two-and-a-half weeks. The move from the 10 elected (non-permanent) UNSC Member States came on Malta’s initiative after repeated failures to pass resolutions on the Israeli war on Gaza within the Council.

Malta was elected to a non-permanent seat the Security Council by the General Assembly last summer, for the period 2023-2024. The current ten non-permanent Member States of the UNSC are Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking with The Journal, Malta’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, a hopeful Vanessa Frazier, explained that today’s draft resolution is the result of a convergence that was only made possible through several meetings that have been held with different countries, the UN, and humanitarian actors. She expressed her gratefulness to Minister for Foreign Minister Ian Borg for supporting the Maltese Permanent Representation in New York and giving it the leeway to do what was necessary in a bid to obtain consensus.

On X, Minister Borg commended the team at Malta’s Permanent Representation to the UN in New York for their tireless work, over the pasty week, on the draft resolution on the humanitarian situation of children in Gaza. “We have listened to Council members and other interested parties to ensure a balanced and operational text,” he remarked.

The final draft of the resolution to be voted on tonight by the UNSC reads as follows:

Final draft resolution

The Security Council,

  • Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
  • Reaffirming that all parties to conflicts must adhere to their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law,
  • Stressing that international humanitarian law provides general protection for children as persons taking no part in hostilities, and special protection as persons who are particularly vulnerable, and recalling that the taking of hostages is prohibited under international law,
  • Recalling that all parties to armed conflict must comply strictly with the obligations applicable to them under international law for the protection of children in armed conflict, including those contained in the Geneva Conventions of 12th August 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977, as well as the relevant conventions regarding the involvement of children in conflict situations,
  • Expressing deep concern at the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and its grave impact on the civilian population, especially the disproportionate effect on children, underlining the urgent need for full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access, and stressing the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence and the obligation to respect and protect humanitarian relief personnel,
  • Rejecting forced displacement of the civilian population, including children, in violation of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law,
  • Expressing deep concern that the disruption of access to education has a dramatic impact on children, and that conflict has lifelong effects on their physical and mental health,
  • Commending the ongoing efforts of several regional and international actors as well as of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to address the hostage and humanitarian crises.
  • Demands that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians, especially children;
  • Calls for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to enable, consistent with international humanitarian law, the full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access for United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other impartial humanitarian organizations, to facilitate the continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services important to the well-being of civilians, especially children, throughout the Gaza Strip, including water, electricity, fuel, food, and medical supplies, as well as emergency repairs to essential infrastructure, and to enable urgent rescue and recovery efforts, including for missing children in damaged and destroyed buildings, and including the medical evacuation of sick or injured children and their care givers;
  • Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children, as well as ensuring immediate humanitarian access;
  • Calls on all parties to refrain from depriving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip of basic services and humanitarian assistance indispensable to their survival, consistent with international humanitarian law, which has a disproportionate impact on children, welcomes the initial, although limited, provision of humanitarian supplies to civilians in the Gaza Strip and calls for the scaling up of the provision of such supplies to meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, especially children;
  • Underscores the importance of coordination, humanitarian notification, and deconfliction mechanisms, to protect all medical and humanitarian staff, vehicles including ambulances, humanitarian sites, and critical infrastructure, including UN facilities, and to help facilitate the movement of aid convoys and patients, in particular sick and injured children and their care givers;
  • Requests the Secretary-General to report orally to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution at the next mandated meeting of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, and further requests the Secretary-General to identify options to effectively monitor the implementation of this resolution as a matter of prime concern;
  • Decides to remain seized of the matter.
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