United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter on Thursday, as he warned of a deepening “catastrophe” in Gaza and called on the Security Council to take urgent action to end the violence and protect civilians.
Article 99 gives the secretary-general the authority to bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. This is the first time that Guterres has used this power since he took office in 2017.
The Security Council, which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has been divided over the Gaza crisis, with the United States blocking several attempts by other members to issue a joint statement or adopt a resolution calling for a ceasefire.
The council has held four emergency meetings on the situation but has failed to agree on any concrete action.
Guterres said he hoped that his invocation of Article 99 would “galvanize” the council to act swiftly and decisively to end the bloodshed and suffering in Gaza, and to revive the stalled peace process in the Middle Ea