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Security Council Resolution Calling for Ceasefire and Hostage Release

(March 22, 2024)

This resolution (S/2024/239) was vetoed by China and Russia.

The Security Council,

Reaffirming the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling all of its relevant resolutions on the situation in the Middle East, including 2712 and 2720,

Condemning all acts of terrorism, including the Hamas-led attacks of October 7, 2023, as well as its taking and killing of hostages, murder of civilians, and sexual violence including rape, and condemning also its use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes and to hold hostages,

Reaffirming that all parties to the conflict must comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, including with regard to the protection of civilians,

Emphasizing its grave concern for the safety and well-being of the more than 130 hostages who continue to be held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other armed groups, as well as its grave concern for the safety and well-being of the civilian population of Gaza, including the more than 1.5 million civilians now taking refuge in Rafah, as well as the wounded and the sick, women, children, persons with disabilities as well as other civilians in vulnerable situations,

Emphasizing its concern that a ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, and would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and would increase the risk of violations of the parties’ obligations under international humanitarian law,

Noting its deep concern for the significant number of civilians killed and injured as a result of the fighting since October 7, stressing the obligation for the parties to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law, and in this regard emphasizing the urgent need for immediate and meaningful measures to reduce significantly civilian harm from ongoing and future operations, and also to prevent further displacement of civilians in Gaza,

Noting also its concern for the extensive damage to civilian infrastructure in Gaza as a result of the fighting since October 7, and underlining the obligation for all parties to the conflict to protect civilian objects according to international humanitarian law and the need to also take all appropriate measures to prevent further damage to civilian infrastructure, including medical infrastructure and transports,

Reaffirming its call for all parties, in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law, to ensure the provision of goods and services essential for the survival of the civilian population and to allow and facilitate, in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law, rapid and unhindered passage of humanitarian relief to all civilians in need, and emphasizing the provision of humanitarian aid should be consistent with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence,

Noting its deep concern about the threat of conflict-induced famine and epidemics presently facing the civilian population in Gaza, as well as the number of undernourished people, and also that hunger in Gaza has reached catastrophic levels, and stressing, pursuant to Resolution 2417 (2018), that responding effectively to humanitarian needs in armed conflict, including the threat of conflict-induced famine and food insecurity in situations of armed conflict, requires respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to conflict, underlining the parties’ obligations related to protecting civilians and civilian objects, meeting the basic needs of the civilian population within their territory or under their effective control, and allowing and facilitating the rapid and unimpeded passage of impartial humanitarian relief to all those in need,

Taking note of intensified diplomatic efforts by Egypt and Qatar, aimed at releasing the hostages, increasing the provision and distribution of humanitarian aid, and alleviating the suffering of civilians in Gaza through an agreement for the release of hostages and an immediate ceasefire of roughly six weeks,

Emphasizing that such a ceasefire should lay the foundation for a sustainable ceasefire,

Calling for upholding unchanged the historic status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem in word and practice, to enable worship in peace, free from violence, threats and provocations,

Noting that Hamas and other terrorist and armed extremist groups in Gaza do not stand for the dignity or self-determination of the Palestinian people, and that Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by numerous Member States,

Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967, and reiterating the vision of the two-State solution, with the Gaza Strip as part of the Palestinian State,

  1. Determines the imperative of an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides, allow for the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance, and alleviate humanitarian suffering, and towards that end unequivocally supports ongoing international diplomatic efforts to secure such a ceasefire in connection with the release of all remaining hostages;
  2. Emphasizes its full support for using the window of opportunity created by any ceasefire to intensify diplomatic and other efforts aimed at creating the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities and lasting peace as called for in Resolution 2720;
  3. Reiterates its demand that all parties to the conflict comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, including with regard to the conduct of hostilities and the protection of civilians and civilian objects, humanitarian access, and the protection of humanitarian relief and medical personnel, their assets and infrastructure;
  4. Emphasizes the urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to civilians in the entire Gaza Strip and reiterates its demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with resolutions 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023);
  5. Rejects any forced displacement of the civilian population in Gaza in violation of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable;
  6. Reiterates its demand that Hamas and other armed groups immediately grant humanitarian access to all remaining hostages;
  7. Demands that all parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain, including applicable obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and respect the dignity and human rights of all individuals detained;
  8. Urges Member States to intensify their efforts to suppress the financing of terrorism, including by restricting financing of Hamas through applicable national- level authorities, in accordance with international law and consistent with Resolution 2462 (2019);
  9. Reiterates its demand for all parties to the conflict to allow, facilitate, and enable, in accordance with applicable international humanitarian law, the full, immediate, safe, sustained and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip, including by facilitating the use of all available routes to and throughout the entire Gaza Strip, including border crossings;
  10. Directs the Secretary-General to provide the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza (“the Senior Coordinator”), the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (“the Special Coordinator”) and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator with the personnel, resources, and support necessary and underscores its full support for the Senior Coordinator’s endeavors, pursuant to resolution 2720, to expeditiously establish a UN mechanism for expediting, streamlining, and accelerating the process of providing assistance while continuing to help ensure that aid reaches its civilian destination, in coordination with other UN representatives and entities;
  11. Requests that all UN coordinators align their respective efforts to support the Senior Coordinator and ensure a more coherent, unified, and effect ive humanitarian effort;
  12. Demands that the parties to the conflict engage constructively and cooperate with UN efforts on the ground, including but not limited to the Senior Coordinator’s efforts to expand the provision of aid into Gaza, including by ensuring sustainable and unimpeded flow of assistance by all available routes and through all necessary crossing points, including the Karem Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom Border Crossing, and also by cooperating to open additional crossings and a maritime corridor as soon as possible, and stresses the importance of respecting and protecting border crossings and other infrastructure used and proposed for use in the delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale;
  13. Stresses also the importance of the Senior Coordinator leading and coordinating the planning and preparations by the UN for early recovery and reconstruction of Gaza, and in this regard recognizes initial steps by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO), in collaboration with the World Bank and the European Union, towards completing a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment in northern Gaza, and underscores the urgency for completing this assessment;
  14. Underscores that the UN Mechanism for accelerated provision of assistance established pursuant to Resolution 2720 is not a replacement for other preexisting aid efforts, and directs the Senior Coordinator ensure that the mechanism help to facilitate an immediate resumption of the provision of commercial goods including materials and equipment, which would complement aid deliveries and are necessary to repair and help ensure the functioning of critical infrastructure, provide essential services, and would lay the foundation for successful future reconstruction Gaza;
  15. Emphasizes that humanitarian personnel and assets must be respected and protected and reiterates its demand that all parties scrupulously comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, in particular with regard to the protection of civilians and civilian objects, and deplores all attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as all violence and hostilities against civilians, and all acts of terrorism;
  16. Emphasizes also that hospitals, other medical facilities, medical personnel, units, and transport must be respected and protected by all parties in accordance with international humanitarian law;
  17. Demands all parties to the conflict fully respect humanitarian notification and deconfliction mechanisms, and remediate any deficiencies, to help ensure the safety and security of United Nations and associated humanitarian personnel, consistent with international humanitarian law, without prejudice to their freedom of movement and access, enable the immediate, safe, sustained and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Gaza Strip, and also to help facilitate the movement of aid convoys and patients, in particular sick and injured children and their care givers;
  18. Directs the parties to allow for the necessary equipment be provided to UN personnel and associated agencies, including satellite phones, radio equipment, armored vehicles, and other items necessary for their safety, contingent on the provision of assurances that such equipment will only be used for humanitarian purposes;
  19. Stresses the key role of all UN humanitarian agencies in providing life- saving assistance, and in this regard welcomes the decision by the Secretary General to both immediately initiate an investigation of allegations that some United Nations and Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) personnel participated in the October 7 attacks, and also appoint an independent Review Group to assess whether UNRWA is doing everything within its power to ensure its neutrality, and underscores the vital importance of full cooperation, including the sharing of information, with these investigations;
  20. Rejects actions that reduce the territory of Gaza, including through the establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones, as well as the widespread, systematic demolition of civilian infrastructure;
  21. Condemns calls by government ministers for the resettlement of Gaza and rejects any attempt at demographic or territorial change in Gaza;
  22. Emphasizes the importance of preventing spillover in the region, including along the Blue Line, and, in this regard, calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint;
  23. Reaffirms its condemnation in the strongest terms of the attacks carried out by the Houthis on vessels in the Red Sea and its demand that they cease immediately, consistent with Resolution 2722 (2024);
  24. Stresses that lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, full respect for human rights, and freedom from violence and incitement to violence;
  25. Reiterates its unwavering commitment to the vision of the two-State solution where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders, consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions, and in this regard stresses the importance of unifying the Gaza Strip with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority;
  26. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.