Presidential candidate Pekka Haavisto speaks at the Independence Day matinee of Hope and Security at the Helsinki Workers' Institute on December 6, 2023. LEHTIKUVA

International news

Pekka Haavisto, a Finnish presidential candidate, has voiced his support for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's initiative to broker a ceasefire in Gaza. In a statement made via the messaging service X, Haavisto emphasized that Finland should employ all diplomatic means to back the UN Secretary-General's proposal.

This stance comes in response to Guterres's recent activation of Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time during his tenure.

Guterres has informed the UN Security Council of the dire situation in Gaza, citing concerns that it poses a threat to international peace and security.

In his letter, Guterres highlighted the urgent need for a humanitarian ceasefire. He detailed the grave situation in Gaza, including over 1,200 deaths due to Hamas's brutal attacks, hostages, and incidents of sexual violence. During Israel's military operation, more than 15,000 people, including 40% children, have died. Additionally, over half of the homes in Gaza have been destroyed, and more than 1.1 million people are seeking refuge with the UN, raising fears of a mass exodus. The healthcare system in the region is on the brink of collapse.

Guterres also noted that the UN is currently unable to deliver adequate aid to the area. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 130 UN workers, along with many of their family members, and there is a looming threat of complete societal breakdown. Without a ceasefire, Guterres warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe.

Haavisto's call for support aligns with a growing international consensus on the necessity of a ceasefire to prevent further loss of life and societal collapse in Gaza. His advocacy for Finland's active diplomatic role in this crisis reflects a commitment to international peace and humanitarian aid.