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.

International Court of Justice Orders Israel to Provide “Unhindered” Access to Humanitarian Assistance

On Thursday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered additional binding provisional measures in the South Africa v. Israel case in light of the continued deterioration of living conditions in Gaza since the Court’s original order of Jan. 26, and “in particular in view of the prolonged and widespread deprivation of food and other basic necessities to which the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been subjected.” The additional measures imposed on Israel include obligations to ensure without delay unhindered provision of humanitarian assistance and medical supplies and care throughout Gaza, including by increasing the number of land crossing points into Gaza.

On Mar. 18, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) process (the U.N. agencies’ official process for assessing famine risk), published a report finding that 1.1 million people in Gaza are experiencing catastrophic food insecurity, with a further 876,000 people facing an emergency of food insecurity. These combined figures comprise nearly all of Gaza’s 2.23 million inhabitants. The IPC projected that famine in Gaza is now “imminent.”

Note: Readers may be interested in our South Africa v. Israel and ICJ coverage. 

U.N. Security Council Briefed on Humanitarian Crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

On Thursday, Bintou Keita, head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) addressed the U.N. Security Council on the country’s worsening humanitarian crisis. Keita presented findings from the Secretary General’s latest report on the peacekeeping mission, which is known as MONUSCO. While DRC President Félix Tshisekedi recently won re-election to a second term, his government has suffered significant military setbacks against armed rebels who are also accused of carrying out atrocities against civilians. Keita highlighted that one in four people in the DRC “faces hunger and malnutrition,” and that 7.1 million people are currently displaced with another 23.4 million experiencing food insecurity.

Note: Readers may be interested in our DRC coverage. 

Special Rapporteur Finds “Reasonable Grounds” for Genocide in Gaza

On Tuesday, Francesca Albanese, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories presented the U.N. Human Rights Council with her latest report which concludes that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The report alleges commission of three genocidal acts with the requisite intent: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Israel did not participate in the Human Rights Council discussion, but issued a statement that it “utterly rejects” the report as an “inversion of reality” and that its commitment to upholding its obligations under international humanitarian law is “unwavering,” according to a U.N. press release

Note: Readers may be interested in our Gaza coverage. 

Security Council Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza

On Monday, the Security Council passed a resolution “demand[ing] an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza for the month of Ramadan. The Council rejected a Russia-proposed amendment that would have called for a permanent ceasefire. The resolution comes days after Russia and China vetoed a U.S.-led resolution calling for a ceasefire and following U.S. vetoes of three previous resolutions calling for a stop to fighting in Gaza. Monday’s resolution was passed with 14 votes in favor, none against, and one abstention from the U.S.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated that the U.S. delegation did not agree with everything in the resolution but that it supports “some of the critical objectives in this non-binding resolution.” In addition to a ceasefire, the resolution also demanded the release of all hostages and the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said the fact that the Security Council “refused to condemn the 7 October massacre” was “a disgrace.”

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