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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Mar. 4, 2024: The Caribbean born President of the United Nations General Assembly,(UNGA), Dennis Francis, today called for the implementation of “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza where Israeli troops have been fighting members of the terrorist group, Hamas, since the October 7 last year incursion into Israel.

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United Nations General Assembly President Dennis Francis (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

“The bombardment must stop, now,” the Trinidad and Tobago diplomat said, as the UNGA plenary meeting on the use of the “veto.”

A screen grab captured from a video shows the civil defense teams working to rebury the bodies unearthed under the soil after the Israeli warplanes bombed a cemetery at the Jibaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip, Gaza on March 4, 2024. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Francis said that from the inception of the United Nations in 1945, the General Assembly and the Security Council, both share a single overarching duty and that is “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

“The purpose of our meeting today underscores the vital importance of that joint responsibility and the urgency for the two bodies to strengthen their collective efforts, within their respective mandates under the United Nations Charter, to preserve and promote global peace and security. In this context, I strongly urge member states to engage in today’s debate with a proactive, solution-oriented posture , mindful of all member states’ responsibility to exert every effort to avert further violence and to save lives,” he said.

There have been calls to do away with the “veto” mechanism used by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council including the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France.

Francis said that while he welcomes the the introduction and utility of the “Veto Initiative,” most especially in relation to the accountability it seeks to foster “it is nevertheless deeply regrettable that compliant with the rules of procedure, this General Assembly must use it at all, in connection with the current deepening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

He said thousands of children have been killed, others are scrounging for food and watching their childhoods evaporate into the horrors of war.

“Countless mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, nieces, and nephews, ll gone. As the French would say “disparu,”, disappeared. Their dreams extinguished, their potential lost forever, and their futures obliterated,” said Francis, while adding that 85 per cent of Gaza’s population, or 1.9 million people, are internally displaced and nearly 1.5 million of them now reside in Rafah – that is, more than six times the population prior to October 7th.

“I am deeply concerned about intensified Israeli airstrikes in Rafah, including in residential areas. In the words of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, any ground operation in such a densely populated area would “leave an already fragile humanitarian operation at death’s door. I, therefore, urgently call for maximum restraint to prevail in order to save innocent civilian lives. Israeli restrictions on the humanitarian access have drastically reduced the flow of lifesaving aid to a mere trickle.”

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