With great honor, the Sovereign Order of Malta’s esteemed delegation, led by H.E. Ambassador Beresford-Hill, participated in the Open Debate on the Middle East and Palestine organized by the United Nations Security Council. This marked the second time since the Order’s recognition as Permanent Observer to the United Nations in 1994 that it was granted this privilege.
During the Open Debate on the Middle East, H.E. Amb. Beresford-Hill focused on the current conflict in Palestine and its impact on essential healthcare services. Despite our dedicated efforts, providing medical care has become increasingly challenging due to roadblocks and delays at checkpoints, causing unnecessary suffering and loss of life for those in need. Attacks on ambulances and aid workers further hinder the provision of care, putting both patients and medical personnel at risk. The World Health Organization’s reports have highlighted numerous health-related attacks in the Palestinian territory, causing significant harm to healthcare infrastructure and personnel between 2019 and 2022.
Our efforts are further compounded by financial constraints and complex tax arrangements that obstruct the smooth movement of medical aid across borders. Bureaucratic customs and excise procedures create delays, hindering the timely entry of essential medical supplies and equipment into the region.
The protection of civilians, especially medical and aid workers, remains a top priority for the Sovereign Order of Malta, aligning with the principles set forth in Security Council Resolution 2286. Violations of these principles only escalate tensions and instability. H.E. Amb. Beresford-Hill urged all responsible governments, irrespective of political affiliations, to uphold the UN Charter and embrace its principles, ensuring human rights are protected under the rule of law.
In closing, H.E. Amb. Beresford-Hill drew upon the powerful words of the Order of Malta’s Grand Master, His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ John Dunlap, who expressed grave concern about human rights violations against defenseless civilians. He called on the international community to take decisive action to prevent these violations, particularly with regard to unrestricted access to healthcare.