World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Ban calling again for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

‘Gaza in critical condition,’ says Ban, calling again for immediate ceasefire

28 July 2014

Urging Israelis and Palestinians to stop the fighting now, “in the name of humanity”, United Nations Secretary-General has again joined the Security Council in calling on the parties to agree on an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.

“Gaza is in a critical condition. Israeli missiles have pummelled Gaza. Hamas rockets have randomly struck Israel,” said Mr. Ban, briefing the press today at Headquarters on his return from a six-day mission to the region, where he pressed both sides to heed the rising humanitarian toll of the crisis, stop the fighting and return to a comprehensive dialogue that would address and prevent the seemingly endless cycle of violence.

While stressing that no country would accept the threat of rockets from above and tunnels from below, The Secretary-General said that at the same time, “all occupying powers have an international legal obligation to protect civilians.”

“I was deeply disappointed that dangerous hostilities resumed on Sunday – but since Sunday evening a relative and very fragile calm on the ground has been established, said the UN chief, adding that while the temporary weekend pause in fighting brought a “brief respite” to war-weary civilians, it had also revealed “how much the massive Israeli assault has devastated the lives of the people of Gaza.”

Telling reporters that people on the ground have described the breadth of the destruction – which has reduced entire neighbourhoods to rubble and flattened apartment buildings throughout the tiny enclave – as a “man-made hurricane, Mr. Ban said: “The people of Gaza have nowhere to run. Every home, every school, every refuge has become a target.”

The casualties and massive damage also raise serious questions of proportionality, continued the Secretary-General, adding that as of now, more than 173,000 Gazans – nearly 10 per cent of the population – are seeking protection at facilities managed by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

“I repeat my call on Israel and all the parties to do vastly more to ensure the safety of these UN sites and the security of the people who have sought sanctuary there,” he said.

Mr. Ban’s comments to the press came hours after an early morning emergency session of the UN Security Council, which also called for an immediate ceasefire.

In a presidential statement approved just after midnight, the 15-member body expressed strong support for the calls by international partners and the Secretary-General for such a ceasefire, and urged all parties to accept and fully implement it into the Eid period marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and beyond.

“The Security Council also calls on parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative,” the statement added.

In this regard, the Council welcomed the efforts of international partners and the convening of the international meeting to support the ceasefire held in Paris on 26 July and urged all concerned regional and international parties to vigorously support efforts to consolidate an agreement between the parties.

The Israeli military offensive in Gaza, which is home to 1.8 million people, has left hundreds dead and thousands injured. Over 170,000 people have been uprooted from their homes and have sought shelter in UN-run facilities.

The Council expressed “grave concern” regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties.

In a statement issued earlier by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban welcomed the Security Council’s “strong support” for his call for a humanitarian ceasefire.

He called on all parties to prolong the suspension of fighting for an additional extendable period of 24-hours to allow vital humanitarian efforts to continue, and reiterated his demand for a durable ceasefire that could set the ground for the start of comprehensive negotiations.

“As people around the world mark Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan and a time for overcoming differences, the Secretary-General calls on parties to build on the current calm,” according to the statement.

Mr. Ban underscored that both Israelis and Palestinians have a responsibility beyond ceasing the ongoing hostilities to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.

“That means an end to the blockade of Gaza and ultimately to the nearly half century of occupation,” he said, adding that it equally means security for Israel.

“He urges the parties to heed his call and that of the international community for the sake of present and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis,” Mr. Ban added.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news