Gazans ‘Have No Homes – And They Have No Hope’: UN Chief


UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday expressed deep concerns over the situation in Gaza, reiterating his call for an immediate ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages.

Speaking at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, the UN chief underscored the need for “real, visible, concrete steps” towards a two-State solution based on UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.

“Repeated bloody hostilities and decades of tensions and occupation have failed to provide a State for the Palestinians or security for Israelis,” he said.

“In the Middle East and around the world, we need peace in every sense,” he said. “Our world cannot afford to wait.”

Recalling his address to the General Assembly yesterday, where he presented his priorities for 2024, the UN chief highlighted raging conflicts, geopolitical divisions and escalating polarization within communities and stressed that peace is the “common thread” connecting the multifaceted challenges faced globally.

“Yesterday, I presented a clear-eyed, sober assessment of the world. This is no time for pulling punches,” he said.

Addressing the several “existential challenges” facing the world – from nuclear danger to the climate emergency and the risks posed by unchecked artificial intelligence – requires much more to be done across the board.

“It will require a serious conversation between developed and developing countries, between rich and emerging economies, between north and south, east and west,” he stated.

Reforms needed

The Secretary-General called for institutional reforms, starting with the overhaul of the Security Council and the Bretton Woods Institutions – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Acknowledging the shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world, he emphasized the need for renewed, inclusive mechanisms of multilateral governance to prevent multiplying risks.

Looking ahead, Mr. Guterres highlighted the upcoming Summit of the Future in September, noting the importance of the New Agenda for Peace, the SDG Stimulus and the UN’s Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence.

He also emphasized the need of aligning institutions with the present times and preserving principles such as respect for the UN Charter, international law and international humanitarian law.

Situation in Gaza

In addressing immediate crises, Mr. Guterres expressed particular concern for ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and in Gaza, where “the situation just keeps getting worse” and UN humanitarian operations continue to face denials of access, delays and dangers – including live fire.

“Let’s be clear: Denial of humanitarian access means denial of humanitarian relief for civilians,” he stressed.

The Secretary-General also expressed deep concerns over reports that the Israeli military intends to focus next on Rafah.

“Half of Gaza’s population is now crammed into Rafah. They have nowhere to go. They have no homes – and they have no hope,” he said, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, unconditional release of hostages and concrete steps towards a two-State solution in line with UN resolutions and international law.

Peace is indispensable

Mr. Guterres concluded by stressing that peace, in every sense, is indispensable for the Middle East and the world.

He emphasized the urgency of action, asserting that the world cannot afford to wait for the necessary changes.

UN News

News provided by UN News Centre

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