Today, Wednesday 18 October, 78 leaders of UK INGOs have signed a statement calling on the UK government to step up its efforts to secure an urgent ceasefire in Israel and Gaza following blasts at al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza and the escalating instability and humanitarian crisis in the region.
78 INGOs, including Action Aid UK, Bond, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Médecins Sans Frontières UK, NRC, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK, Water Aid UK and more have said:
The horrific blast at al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Gaza must serve as a wake-up call to the international community. We urge global leaders to call for an immediate ceasefire.
Without this there can be no safe humanitarian access which would allow NGOs and humanitarian agencies to urgently get food, clean water, and medical supplies into Gaza. Civilians, particularly women, the young and old, and people with disabilities, are already bearing the brunt of this escalating and tragic crisis and must be allowed to move to safety and be protected wherever they are.
The UK Prime Minister should urgently help secure a ceasefire and uphold the UK’s responsibilities to ensure international humanitarian law is adhered to, to prevent further escalation and more lives being lost. It must act now to avoid a wider regional conflict.
Finally, we call on international actors to find a long-term, sustainable, just and peaceful solution for all people across the region.
Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB Chief Executive, said:
Too many lives have been lost in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank and the world must intervene now to stop the violence. It is not too late to save those who are still alive but fearing the worst.
Millions of people in Gaza are currently in a desperate situation; families are sheltering in cramped conditions with no running water, putting them at risk of deadly diseases like cholera. Food and drinking water supplies are dwindling. Children are afraid and it seems impossible to protect civilians from harm.
UK and world leaders need to do all they can to secure an immediate ceasefire, to ensure water and power and fuel is available to meet human needs, and to allow humanitarian aid in, so we can prevent many more lives from being lost.
Dr. Halima Begum, CEO of ActionAid UK, said:
ActionAid continues to call for an immediate ceasefire and an urgent end to this devastating cycle of escalation. We have now seen thousands of people killed and injured, and if this cycle continues, the number of victims will only grow exponentially. Let us be clear: any attack on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, the taking of hostages and the blocking of humanitarian aid represents a serious potential violation of international humanitarian law and compounds the already dire humanitarian situation.
Conditions across Gaza are now entirely incompatible with basic humanitarian standards. Water, medicine, food and shelter are all in critically short supply, particularly in Southern Gaza where civilians are essentially trapped in a humanitarian bottleneck. We implore all parties, including the US and Britain as well as Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, to do all in their power to help implement safe humanitarian corridors and access into Gaza so that desperately needed humanitarian assistance including food, water and medicine can be immediately distributed. Hundreds of thousands of civilians in Gaza now face the stark choice between staying in the positions in which they are currently seeking shelter – and facing the risk of bombing and starvation – or fleeing to the southern bottleneck in exceptionally dangerous conditions, with no guarantee of their safety. This escalating cycle of violence and suffering must now stop.
Notes to editors
- The full list of the 78 signatories is available here.
- The blast at al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital in Northern Gaza has killed an estimated 500 people with over 3,000 civilians killed in Gaza and 1,300 civilians in Israel killed since 7 October.
- Today the UN Security Council will vote on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas to allow humanitarian assistance access to the Gaza Strip.
- The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated since 7 October when Hamas militants first crossed the border with Israel and killed over 1,300 Israeli civilians and kidnapped over an estimated 200 hostages which led to rocket attacks and airstrikes across the region.
- All the signatories are members of Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 350 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
- Many of Bond’s member organisations are actively working in, or have recently worked in some form in Gaza providing humanitarian assistance.
- For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected] or call 07392972411.