March 2024

QUNO presents UN update at AFSC Action Hour

QUNO New York’s UN representative, Kavita Desai, joined the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Action Hour on the ongoing crisis in Gaza on the 1st of March. The weekly space brings people from across the US together for a dedicated hour to learn about the situation on the ground in Gaza and to mobilize political action in support of peace by encouraging people to contact elected officials to call for a ceasefire. 

On the call, Kavita provided a UN update, stating that “we are seeing the UN begging the international community to allow it to assist civilians”, a responsibility that is being blocked purely due to politics. At the UN in New York, the role of the UN Security Council is to respond to risks and threats to international peace and security. This is a responsibility that the UN has been unable to fulfil, despite the rapidly worsening situation, because of ongoing disagreement among major powers on the Security Council. The lack of enforcement for UN Security Council resolutions also hinders this responsibility. Quakers have a long history of providing humanitarian relief in the Middle East. Before the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was established to respond to the needs of Palestinian refugees fleeing the 1948 Palestine War, the UN worked with AFSC to provide humanitarian assistance and AFSC colleagues have continued to work on the ground in Gaza during this most recent escalation. However, the UN has clearly stated that UNRWA is critical to provide humanitarian relief in Gaza, particularly at the scale now required. The main message from the UN is that while a political solution is needed, the UN and humanitarian organizations need safe access to people, and the resources and scale to deliver. 

In commemoration of Women's History Month, AFSC has featured inspiring women speakers each week during the Action Hour. Kavita was invited to provide insight on UN discussions of the situation in Gaza as the first in this series of guest speakers. To join the weekly AFSC action hour sign up here.

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