H.E. Dr Michael Imran Kanu, Ambassador & Permanent Representative

Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council On The Middle East – Palestine Question


Mr. President,

Sierra Leone joins other delegations in congratulating and expressing full support to the Russian Federation on assuming the Presidency for the month of July. We also commend the Republic of Korea for their successful Presidency in June.

I thank Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, for sharing her assessment of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and her efforts to implement Resolution 2720.

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip remains a high priority, especially with regards addressing the critical security and administrative challenges that threaten the full implementation of resolution 2720, and all other relevant resolutions of this Council on this issue.

In the past eight months, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have experienced a devastating war with catastrophic consequences, ranging from a massive death toll, injuries, multiple displacements, inadequate shelters, shortage of water, sanitation facilities, medications and other daily essential products, to food insecurity and famine. This cannot be normalized, and we must refuse to normalize this human tragedy of epic proportions. 

The plight of women and children has been particularly devastating, as they still struggle to access the right quantity and quality of aid. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has recently reported that essential sexual and reproductive health services in Gaza are severely limited, as only a few hospitals remain partially operational following multiple attacks on healthcare facilities. A Similar absence of specialised healthcare facilities for children remains a key concern.  

For months, heightened tensions and insecurity have continued to hinder operations of aid agencies and the unimpeded flow of humanitarian assistance throughout the Palestinian territory. The continuous escalation in conflict has impacted the ability of these agencies to work effectively and provide life-saving assistance to civilians, despite their best efforts. Furthermore, as reported by OCHA, over 193 UN Personnel have been killed during the conflict, as well as other humanitarian workers including those from the World Central Kitchen. 

In support of the United Nation’s efforts to address the challenges of effective humanitarian support in the Gaza Strip, Sierra Leone would like to emphasize the following two points:  

Firstly, we reiterate our support for the office of the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator and recognize her sustained efforts through meaningful engagement and consultations at all levels with relevant stakeholders to enhance facilitation, improve coordination, monitoring and verification of all relief consignments to Gaza. We welcome her recent visit to the North of Gaza and her discussions with Israeli authorities to advance this mandate.  

In this regard, we believe that ongoing discussions with the Israeli Government, and the wider engagements aimed at resolving the prolonged conflict between Israel and Palestine, should prioritize the issue of unimpeded provision of and access to humanitarian aid and essential services, which are so desperately needed in the Gaza Strip and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

We also welcome the convening of the High-Level Conference called – “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Aid for Gaza”, held in Jordan on 11th June. 

Secondly, we reiterate our call for all conflict parties to strictly adhere to their obligations under international law, in particular international humanitarian law, and all relevant resolutions of this Council aimed at protecting civilians including humanitarian workers and civilian infrastructure. An effective deconfliction mechanism is also necessary to guarantee the safety and security of all humanitarian personnel and allow for the rapid facilitation of humanitarian relief. 

We welcome the operationalization of the UN Mechanism and improved access in the North through the Erez West Crossing.    However, we note the constraints UNRWA and other partners encounter on the ground to store, transport and distribute aid to South and Central Gaza. We call for access to be granted via all possible routes into the Gaza Strip to reduce such obstacles, and for improvements in delays and restrictions from checkpoint procedures and clearances for aid.  

We are of the view that an immediate and sustained truce leading to a cessation of hostilities, will significantly improve the humanitarian situation on the ground.  We re-echo the word of the UN Secretary-General – “It is high time for a ceasefire along with the unconditional release of hostages”, urging for the current opportunity created by the recent peace initiative to be seized.  

In closing, Mr. President, Sierra Leone calls for continued support for the mandate of the Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator, working to improve the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. We call for stronger collaboration and coordination with other UN agencies and consultants. Ultimately, adherence to the calls for an immediate ceasefire would go a long way in securing a deal that will finally end the current cycle of violence and suffering.    

I thank you.

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