Posted: 20.11.2023 09:52:00

UN humanitarian agencies won’t participate in establishment of ‘safe zones’ in Gaza

The humanitarian arms of the United Nations system that are members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) will not participate in any initiatives to create a ‘safe zone’ in the Gaza Strip – as stated in a joint statement issued in Geneva, signed by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, as well as experts and heads of several structures of the world organisation, such as the Children’s Fund and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, TASS reports


“As humanitarian leaders, our position is clear: we won’t participate in the establishment of any ‘safe zone’ in Gaza that is set up without the agreement of all the parties, and unless fundamental conditions are in place to ensure safety and other essential needs are met and a mechanism is in place to supervise its implementation,” the document notes.

“Under the prevalent conditions, proposals to unilaterally create ‘safe zones’ in Gaza risk creating harm for civilians, including large-scale loss of life, and must be rejected,” the authors of the statement stated. “No ‘safe zone’ is truly safe when it is declared unilaterally or enforced by the presence of armed forces.”

They stressed that any discussions around ‘safe zones’ must not detract from the parties’ obligation to take constant care to spare civilians – wherever they are – and meet their essential needs, including by facilitating rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians in need.