UN chief suggests options for improved Palestinian protection

18 Aug, 2018 9:07 am

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The protection of Palestinian civilians could be improved by the deployment of UN-mandated armed forces or unarmed observers, a beefed-up UN civilian presence or expanded UN assistance, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in a report.

The United Nations General Assembly requested the report in a resolution adopted in June and denounced the firing of rockets from Gaza .

The resolution asked for proposals to ensure “the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population , including  recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

Guterres outlined four options, but he did not make a specific recommendation. He noted that all options would need the cooperation of both parties, a sustained cessation of hostilities and additional resources to ensure they were viable.

Armed UN peacekeepers or armed forces from a group of like-minded states operating under a United Nations mandate could be deployed to offer physical protection, Guterres said. This option, however, would need a Security Council mandate .

A UN or non-UN civilian observer mission could be deployed “with a specific mandate to report on protection and well-being issues and provide local mediation,” Guterres said. This would also need a UN-mandate.


A third option could be expanding current UN programs and development and humanitarian aid to address the needs of Palestinian civilians more effectively and strengthen Palestinian institutions, he wrote.

The final option could be to send additional UN human rights, coordination and political officers to boost monitoring and reporting on the situation and increase the UN’s visibility, Guterres said.

The General Assembly resolution requesting the report was adopted with 120 votes in favour, eight against and 45 abstentions. It was put forward in the General Assembly after the United States vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member UN Security Council.

“The best way to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population is still the negotiation ” Guterres said.




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