Security Council Approves Resolution Decrying Attacks on UN and Aid Workers

A MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) armed vehicle drives along the Beni-Kasindi road, stronghold of the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces, an armed group originally from Uganda that pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2019 and operates in eastern DRC), on May 9, 2024 in Beni territory, North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (AFP)
A MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) armed vehicle drives along the Beni-Kasindi road, stronghold of the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces, an armed group originally from Uganda that pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2019 and operates in eastern DRC), on May 9, 2024 in Beni territory, North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (AFP)
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Security Council Approves Resolution Decrying Attacks on UN and Aid Workers

A MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) armed vehicle drives along the Beni-Kasindi road, stronghold of the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces, an armed group originally from Uganda that pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2019 and operates in eastern DRC), on May 9, 2024 in Beni territory, North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (AFP)
A MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) armed vehicle drives along the Beni-Kasindi road, stronghold of the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces, an armed group originally from Uganda that pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2019 and operates in eastern DRC), on May 9, 2024 in Beni territory, North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (AFP)

The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution Friday that strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian workers and UN personnel, and demands that all combatants protect them in accordance with international law.

The vote was 14-0 with Russia abstaining.

The Swiss-sponsored resolution expresses grave concern at the growing number of attacks and threats against UN and humanitarian personnel along with the continuing disregard and violations of international humanitarian law by combatants.

“The goal of the resolution is as simple as it is important,” Switzerland’s UN Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl told The Associated Press on Thursday. “It’s about protecting the men and women who work and risk their lives — every day — to help people affected by armed conflict.”

The resolution does not single out any conflict, but it is being voted on as battles rage in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar and many other hotspots around the world.

It is the seven-month war in Gaza, however, that has seen the greatest number of attacks on UN and humanitarian personnel. Over 190 UN staff have been killed, a death toll unprecedented in the United Nations’ nearly 80-year history, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The war has also seen the killing of other humanitarian personnel, including seven World Central Kitchen workers who died in an Israeli airstrike last month.

Baeriswyl said in a statement to AP that the resolution was being put to a vote at a very timely moment. The Geneva Conventions, which Baeriswyl described as the cornerstone of international humanitarian law and a reflection of our common humanity, commemorates its 75th anniversary in August.

The resolution calls on all countries to respect and protect humanitarian and UN personnel as required by international law. And it calls on all nations and parties to armed conflict to respect international humanitarian law and their obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

It “strongly condemns attacks and all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, threats and intimidation against humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel.”

The resolution urges combatants “to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities and refrain from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.”

It also urges warring parties to facilitate “full, safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians in need, and to promote the safety, security and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel.”

On another issue, the resolution condemns “disinformation, information manipulation and incitement to violence” against humanitarian and UN staff and it encourages all countries and the United Nations to take action to address these threats.

If approved, the resolution would express the council’s determination to take steps to provide for the safety and security of humanitarian and UN staff. It would ask the UN Secretary-General to make recommendations within six months on measures to prevent attacks, ensure accountability and enhance protection of humanitarian and UN staff.



President: Philippines Not in Business of Instigating Wars

FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo
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President: Philippines Not in Business of Instigating Wars

FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Sunday his country is not in the business of instigating wars and will always aim to settle disputes peacefully, amid escalating maritime confrontations with China.
"In defending the nation, we stay true to our Filipino nature that we would like to settle all these issues peacefully," Marcos said in a speech to troops of the Western Command unit in charge of overseeing the South China Sea.
Philippine navy personnel and the Chinese coast guard had their latest clash during a routine resupply mission by Manila in the South China Sea last week, in which it said a sailor was severely injured and vessels damaged.
China's Coast Guard personnel carrying knives and spears looted firearms and "deliberately punctured" Philippine boats involved in the mission, the Philippine military said.
China disputed the Philippine account, with a foreign ministry spokesperson saying on Thursday the necessary measures taken were lawful, professional and beyond reproach.
Marcos, who did not name China in his speech, commended the troops for exercising restraint "amidst intense provocation", and said his country would always exercise its freedoms and rights in line with international law.
"In the performance of our duties, we will not resort to the use of force or intimidation, or deliberately inflict injury or harm to anyone," Reuters quoted Marcos as saying. "We stand firm. Our calm and peaceful disposition should not be mistaken for acquiescence."
Recent maritime run-ins between China and the Philippines, a US treaty ally in Southeast Asia, have made the highly strategic South China Sea a potential flashpoint between Washington and Beijing.
The United States has condemned China's actions and reaffirmed its ironclad defense commitments against any attack on Philippine aircraft or vessels in the South China Sea under their mutual defense treaty.
But the Philippines said on Friday there was no reason to invoke the treaty because China's actions, which security officials have described as escalatory, could not be classified as an "armed attack".
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion of annual shipborne commerce, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China's claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected.
"We are not in the business to instigate wars - our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino," Marcos said. "We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition."