March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: Amid Israel’s ongoing military attacks on the Gaza Strip, particularly in its southern region, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter in a bid to establish a ceasefire.


Understanding Article 99 of the UN Charter:

  • Purpose and Scope:
    • Article 99 of the UN Charter allows the Secretary-General to bring attention to any issue that, in their opinion, poses a threat to international peace and security.
    • This article grants discretionary power to the Secretary-General to alert the Security Council about matters of concern.
  • Invocation of Article 99 in the Current Situation:
    • Secretary-General invoked Article 99 regarding the conflict between Israel and Gaza, emphasizing the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
    • Secretary-General highlighted the collapsing humanitarian system, extensive civilian casualties, destruction, and trauma in both Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territory.
  • Impact of Invocation and Proposed Action:
    • Secretary-General urged the Security Council to avert a humanitarian catastrophe by declaring a ceasefire.
    • The United Arab Emirates presented a draft resolution to the UNSC based on Secretary-General letter, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict zone.
    • The proposed resolution is expected to be brought to a vote in the Security Council.
    • However, the unanimous support of all permanent members is unlikely due to differing positions on the conflict.

Historical Context of Article 99 Invocation:

  • Article 99 has been rarely invoked in the history of the United Nations.
  • Past instances include situations such as the Congo crisis in 1960 and a complaint by Tunisia against France’s military actions in 1961.
  • The invocation of Article 99 is considered a significant and dramatic move, reflecting the Secretary-General’s concern for global peace and security.

Potential Implications and Challenges:

  • Humanitarian Impact:
    • The invocation of Article 99 aims to draw attention to the dire humanitarian situation, emphasizing the need for urgent action to prevent further civilian suffering and restore essential services.
  • Diplomatic Challenges:
    • The proposed resolution faces challenges in achieving unanimous support from the Security Council’s permanent members, given differing positions on the conflict.
  • Possible Resolutions:
    • For the draft resolution to pass, it requires at least nine affirmative votes in the Security Council without veto from any of the permanent members.


  • Secretary-General’s invocation of Article 99 highlights the severity of the humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict between Israel and Gaza.
  • It calls upon the international community, particularly the UN Security Council, to take immediate action to address the situation and prevent further deterioration in the region.
  • However, achieving a unanimous resolution remains uncertain due to the divergent positions among the Security Council’s permanent members.


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