UN Security Council to vote on condemning attacks against aid workers

Some of the most dangerous deployments include Mali, South Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen where aid convoys and UN operations have repeatedly come under direct fire. Just last month, three UN personnel were killed in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin during an Israeli military raid.

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on a resolution that forcefully denounces the mounting attacks and threats against humanitarian personnel and United Nations staff around the world.

Sponsored by Switzerland, the draft resolution strongly condemns the recent increase in acts of violence that directly undermine the safety and security of United Nations operations and obstructs the ability of the United Nations to implement its mandate.

While not specifying any particular conflict zone, the proposed measure expresses “grave concern” over the growing disregard for international humanitarian law related to the protection of aid workers, UN peacekeepers and affiliated civilian staff.

Violence against humanitarian and UN workers has spiked in recent years amid a proliferation of armed conflicts and insecurity impacting fragile regions. According to UN figures, a total of 660 humanitarian workers have been killed, wounded or kidnapped since 2021.

Some of the most dangerous deployments include Mali, South Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen where aid convoys and UN operations have repeatedly come under direct fire. Just last month, three UN personnel were killed in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin during an Israeli military raid.

If adopted as expected, the resolution would demand that all parties to armed conflicts fully comply with obligations under international law regarding the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and UN operations. It calls for prosecuting those responsible for violence against aid workers.

However, the measure is limited as it does not include any enforcement mechanism or sanctions for non-compliance beyond condemnation. Critics argue more concrete actions are needed from the Security Council beyond statements of principle that are routinely violated.

Still, proponents insist sending an unambiguous message from the UN’s highest body can help stigmatize attacks and prompt relevant authorities to take preventative measures in safeguarding humanitarian operations in conflict zones. The vote is scheduled for later this week.