Editors’ Note: This is the latest in Just Security’s weekly series keeping readers up to date on developments at the United Nations at the intersection of national security, human rights, and the rule of law.

Security Council Fails to Pass Resolution on Gaza Ceasefire

On Friday, the U.N. Security Council failed to pass a U.S.-led resolution calling for “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in Gaza. Russia and China vetoed the resolution with Algeria also voting against it. Eleven nations voted in favor and Guyana abstained. The United States has previously vetoed three resolutions calling for a stop to fighting in Gaza. 

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said the resolution was “exceedingly politicized” and contained an effective green light for Israel to mount a military operation in Rafah on the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, where roughly half of Gaza’s prewar population of 2.3 million people is sheltering.

Note: Readers may be interested in our Gaza coverage. 

General Assembly Resolution on Artificial Intelligence 

On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly approved a U.S.-led resolution on artificial intelligence, the first U.N. resolution on the issue. The resolution was adopted by consensus. Its aim is to promote the development of “safe, secure and trustworthy” artificial intelligence (AI) systems in a manner that is sustainable, compliant with international human rights law, and to the benefit of all States.

Report on Human Rights in Russian-occupied Ukraine

On Wednesday, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report on the situation of human rights in Russian-occupied Ukraine since Moscow began its full-scale invasion on  Feb. 24, 2022. The report is based on testimonies of victims and witnesses. It details the imposition of Russian language, citizenship, and laws, and the suppression of Ukrainian culture and the right to peaceful protest. According to the report, individuals who refused to accept Russian citizenship  faced denial of public sector employment, healthcare services, and social security benefits. 

The report also documents Russian armed forces’ widespread use of arbitrary detentions, torture, and enforced disappearances. Ukrainian law enforcement officials are said to have engaged in the same practices in recaptured areas, notably with respect to alleged collaborators, who, according to the report, have been prosecuted under overly broad legislation that risks criminalizing all employment or business activities in occupied territory, including conduct that individuals may be compelled to perform by the occupying power under International Humanitarian Law.

The report comes days after the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, addressed the Security Council denouncing Russian elections in occupied areas of Ukraine and rejecting the legality of territorial annexations through the use of force.

Note: Readers may be interested in our Russia-Ukraine War coverage. 

Human Rights Situation in Myanmar

On Tuesday, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tom Andrews, addressed the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Myanmar which has deteriorated since the country’s military overthrew the democratically elected government in February 2021, triggering an intensification of armed conflicts with separatist and opposition forces.

The violence has displaced approximately 2.7 million people and left 18.6 million people in need of humanitarian aid. At least 24,000 protesters have been arrested since the coup and 4,000 killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Andrews’ address comes a day after the Spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General António Guterres issued a separate statement on Myanmar condemning the ongoing violence and forcible conscription and calling for a cessation of hostilities as well as sustained international and regional attention to the crisis in the country.

Note: Readers may be interested in our Myanmar coverage. 

Secretary General Addresses the Security Council on Nuclear Threat

On Monday, the Security Council held a debate on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, during which Guterres addressed the Council calling for “disarmament now.” He said that “geopolitical tensions and mistrust have escalated the risk of nuclear warfare to its highest point in decades.” 

Last summer, Guterres set out a “New Agenda for Peace,” a six-pronged approach to strengthen prevention and disarmament for which he urged nuclear-weapon states’ support. The Agenda in part calls for: (1) dialogue; (2) an end to “nuclear sabre-rattling”; (3) reaffirmation of moratoria on nuclear weapons testing; (4) fulfillment of treaty commitments on disarmament; (5) a “joint-first use” agreement between nuclear-weapon states that none will be the first to use a nuclear weapon; and (6) reduction of nuclear arsenals. 

Guterres encouraged non-nuclear weapon states to “hold nuclear-weapon States to account,” and called on the Security Council to “look beyond today’s divisions” and show leadership in addressing the nuclear threat.

IMAGE: The United Nations Headquarters, in New York city, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)