The World Health Organization (WHO) has passed a resolution regarding the provision of crucial aid in Gaza.
The UN health agency acknowledged that a resolution on this conflict was adopted without opposition within the UN system for the first time since 7 October. This highlights the significance of prioritizing healthcare universally, regardless of the circumstances, and recognizing the role of healthcare and humanitarian efforts in promoting peace, even in challenging situations.
The resolution demands that humanitarian aid be promptly and continuously delivered, with no obstacles, and that medical personnel be granted access.
This statement urges all parties to uphold their responsibilities according to international law and emphasizes that all parties involved in armed conflict must fully adhere to their duties under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and medical personnel.
The decision also praises the World Health Organization and its partners in the health sector for their dedication and successful efforts in providing aid on-site.
The WHO’s Executive Board is composed of 34 individuals with expertise in the field of health, each appointed by a Member State that has been chosen by the World Health Assembly.
During a challenging situation on Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) and their collaborators in Gaza managed to provide resources for approximately 1,500 patients and transport them from Al-Ahli Hospital in the northern region to a facility in the southern region.
The targeting of medical facilities and personnel must cease.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, expressed his condemnation of the “barbaric and unjustified” assaults carried out by Hamas against Israel on October 7th, resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 individuals. He also voiced his shock at the reports of gender-based violence and mistreatment of hostages during these attacks.
He expressed relief over the release of 114 hostages and reiterated his plea for the release of all of them.
“I fully comprehend the anger, sadness, and fear felt by the Israeli citizens in the aftermath of the tragic attacks that occurred two months ago,” stated Tedros.
I empathize with the emotions of the people in Gaza, who have endured 16 years of blockade and are now facing the devastation of their families, homes, communities, and way of life.
According to the speaker, WHO has confirmed over 449 incidents of healthcare being targeted in Gaza and the West Bank, and 60 attacks on healthcare in Israel since October 7th. The speaker emphasized that healthcare must never be a targeted objective.
I am also saddened by the passing of over 100 of our fellow UN workers in Gaza, including Dima Alhaj, a member of our team who tragically lost her life along with her six-month old child, husband, and two brothers.
The resolution requests that Tedros provide a report on the impact of the crisis on public health, enhance support in terms of resources and expertise, and improve collaborations with other healthcare providers.
“But I have to be honest with you: these tasks are nearly impossible given the current circumstances,” he expressed his frustration.
Last week, he praised the UN Secretary-General’s use of Article 99 as a strong emergency measure, as well as António Guterres’s plea for a humanitarian ceasefire. He stated that this was the most effective means of safeguarding and advancing the well-being of the people of Gaza.
Tedros expressed profound disappointment that the Security Council was not able to approve a resolution for a ceasefire last Friday.
Resolution ‘a starting point’
He stated that even though the negotiations over the Executive Board’s text were challenging, he valued the willingness of board members to work together and make compromises in order to achieve consensus on the resolution.
Throughout the day, several countries expressed condolences for the loss of civilian lives and also for health workers and UN employees.
During his final statement, the director-general of WHO, Tedros, acknowledged that the resolution’s adoption marks the beginning of a process. He also stated that although it does not completely solve the crisis, it provides a foundation to build upon.
The speaker emphasized the importance of a ceasefire in achieving peace and ultimately, good health. They urged all Member States, particularly those with significant influence, to prioritize finding a resolution to the conflict as quickly as possible.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, expressed disappointment in the resolution for not acknowledging the issue of hostages in a statement issued in response to it.
She also noted that the text does not denounce “Hamas terrorism” or their practice of using human shields, and called it a “total moral failure on the part of the global community.”