Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

H.E. MR. AMARA SOWA, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative

Madam President

Since this is the first formal briefing, let me register my delegation’s congratulations and support to Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza on her appointment and equally thank her for the comprehensive briefing.

My delegation recalls resolution 2720 (2023) which calls for this position and for the establishment of an effective UN mechanism for providing humanitarian aid to the people in the Gaza Strip.  

The Senior Humanitarian Coordinator’s role of facilitating and expediting humanitarian aid in Gaza is especially critical at this juncture, given that 1.1 million people are projected to face catastrophic levels of food insecurity (IPC5) in the region.

Regular updates from OCHA on the situation in Gaza confirm that the volume of humanitarian supply entering Gaza since the start of hostilities in October 2023, is far below the approximately 500 trucks per day estimated by UNRWA to be needed to meet the basic essential food, health, and other needs of the people there.  

Sierra Leone acknowledges the enormity of the task of increasing the quantum of humanitarian aid into Gaza to minimize the impact of the conflict on civilians, especially on women, children, and other vulnerable persons.  

We commend the continued engagement and consultation by the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator since her appointment, with the IDF and other stakeholders in the region on removing the significant humanitarian access constraints to ensure unfettered access via all routes, air, land, and sea, into the Gaza Strip. Such a consultative and wellcoordinated approach is essential for seamless aid distribution to address the urgent and continuing needs of the people there, especially in the current environment of heavy bombardment and ongoing clashes.

Additionally, we anticipate that an established UN Mechanism as stipulated in resolution 2720 will resolve current operational constraints, improve collaboration with humanitarian actors in the region, and increase their delivery capacity throughout the Gaza Strip.  

Madam President,  

In supporting the Office of the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator and ensuring she delivers on her mandate to facilitate, coordinate, monitor and verify humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza, my delegation will continue to call for:

An immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as stipulated in resolution 2728 to enable full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all civilians, an absence of such will only stifle progress. In this vein we request the Office of the Senior Humanitarian Coordinator to coordinate efforts with UNRWA to ensure that the Palestinians get full access to humanitarian aid.

In reminding parties to the conflict of their obligations under international law, we draw their attention to the consequences associated with such blatant violations. We urge parties to the conflict to prioritize the survival, security and dignity of all civilians.

We further call for a functioning humanitarian notification system and a stable communication network that will guarantee the protection of United Nations and other humanitarian personnel and enhance the efficient delivery of essential commodities.

Sierra Leone reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas, and in the interim, demands that access be granted to the ICRC and, or other humanitarian workers to visit and support the victims.  

In closing, Sierra Leone reaffirms its support to the good office of the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator and stresses the need for the requisite resources to be made available for an efficient service delivery. As a council member, we will continue to participate and engage in processes that seek to broker peace and improve the lives of the civilians in both Palestine and Israel.

I thank you.

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