The permanent Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations participated in the Open Debate on the Middle East and Palestine organized by the United Nations Security Council held on 27 July in New York. In his address, the Ambassador of the Order of Malta to the UN, Paul 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” remarked the Ambassador adding that the World Health Organization has reported numerous health-related attacks in the Palestinian territory, which have caused significant harm to healthcare infrastructure and personnel between 2019 and 2022.
“The protection of civilians, especially medical and aid workers, remains a top priority for the Sovereign Order of Malta” stated Ambassador Beresford-Hill who 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 Bethlehem the Order of Malta runs the Holy Family Hospital where every year over 4.500 babies are born, some with severe congenital pathologies. With its 18-bed capacity, the neonatal intensive care unit can take care of premature babies also coming from other hospitals in the region. In January the 100,000 baby was born.
In closing Amb. Beresford-Hill drew upon the powerful words of the Order of Malta’s Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap, who recently 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.
This was the second address at the Security Council made by the Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the UN.