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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Dec 13, 2023

The call for ceasefire in Gaza continues

Two months into the war in Gaza, fervent calls for a ceasefire have not waned. We can only hope that our collective voices would be heard and listened to, for the sake of the many innocent lives who are caught in the middle, for the common good.

The gravity of the situation is alarming and continues to escalate, with more than 17,000 deaths, mostly people from Gaza. The United Nations says about 80 percent of the population in Gaza have left their homes, many of whom have already been displaced multiple times.

The entry of humanitarian aid to provide much needed food and water has become more and more challenging. This is very troubling. The World Food Program has warned that the worsening hunger crisis “threatens to overwhelm the civilian population.”

Women and children, the sick, and the elderly, are suffering more. The growing hunger, the physical and mental toll of having to live through this war, the fight for survival among civilians — these are fragile scenarios that could destroy whatever peace is left.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

As hospitals become battlegrounds, and civilians unable to find shelter, with very limited food and water, with more reports of innocent deaths and stories of sexual violence, nowhere in Gaza is safe. Amid this situation, Mr. Guterres expects public order to completely break down soon.

Thus, to urge members to demand a ceasefire, Mr. Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which states, “The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

It is a rarely exercised power last used several decades ago. By invoking Article 99, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric explained that the UN Secretary-General hopes to put more pressure on the Council and the international community at large to demand a ceasefire between the warring parties.

We may not be in the position to judge the motivations of the parties engaged in this war, but it is our collective responsibility as members of a community of nations to fight for the rights of those who did not want this war in the first place, by calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, and repeatedly doing so until we are heard.

This ceasefire is for the sake of the innocent civilians — millions of them. A ceasefire may not be able to bring back the lives of loved ones lost; it may not allow survivors to immediately return to their normal lives; but it will give them much needed hope to live, to fight for survival one more day, because tomorrow might just be a better one.

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