Responding to calls from Amnesty International and other humanitarian organisations, the United Nations Security Council has recently passed a unanimous resolution asking countries to ensure protection of civilians during wars and civil strife. International bodies, working for peace and human rights, have long been calling on the UNSC to fulfil its pledge to bound countries to guarantee the provision of food, water and healthcare – essentials for survival. The Red Cross has lent its full support to the resolution. It has given hope to civilians caught up in conflicts in occupied Kashmir and other parts of the world. In these conflicts, thousands of civilians have been killed, and currently more than 70 million have been displaced. Many have not been killed by bombs and other ammunition; they have died for lack of food, water and as a result of destruction of hospitals and homes.
The resolution also calls for ensuring proper power supply in areas affected by war. In war zones, surgeries cannot be performed on the wounded. The lack of electricity hinders provision of essential necessities and medicare. Sometimes supply lines are blocked by fighters rendering supply of food, medicines and tents difficult. Many such incidents have occurred in recent years when such blockades have snuffed out thousands of lives. The Red Cross has urged warring groups not to disrupt water supply as this leads many civilians to die of thirst. The resolution also calls for ensuring sanitation in conflict-hit areas.
Vietnam, which has experienced grave consequences of two devastating wars in the recent past, has drafted the UNSC resolution. The resolution has opposed depriving people of food, water and other basic necessities as a tactic in war, saying this is unacceptable. However, international organisations should also work to get information blockade in conflict zones declared illegal. A significant case in point is occupied Kashmir, which has been under a severe information clampdown since Aug 5, 2019. The imposed silence is the loudest sound.
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