UK NGO statement on Rafah

Today, Tuesday 7 May, Bond and 30 UK NGOs have signed a joint statement calling on the UK government to work urgently to prevent any further assault on Rafah.

Signatories include Action Aid UK, Christian Aid UK, Care International UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and many more.

Full statement:

The UK Government has repeatedly asked Israel not to unleash a slaughter in Rafah, Gaza.

Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron is “very concerned about what is happening in Rafah” and knows “it is impossible to fight a war amongst all these people. There is nowhere for them to go.”

Deputy Foreign Secretary, Andrew Mitchell thinks that “an Israeli incursion will struggle to be compliant with international law.”

Middle East Minister, Lord Ahmad said that “the fighting must stop now, in order to get the hostages home.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister acknowledges that “Too many innocent civilians have died in Gaza.”

David Cameron also asked Israel for a ‘Plan B’ for Rafah to ensure “people can achieve safety, get food, medicine and water, and that people are kept safe.”

They have been ignored by Israel.

Yesterday, the Israeli military issued relocation orders to people sheltering in parts of Rafah, the first step towards a full-scale invasion that will most likely kill thousands of civilians. The area people are being directed to is already overstretched and lacks the capacity and resources to accommodate the number of people seeking refuge. The relocation orders lack guarantees of safety and the right to return, which risk violating International law.

In the last 12 hours, Israel has intensely bombed Rafah, including civilian homes and areas marked as safe. This morning, Israeli tanks entered the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, blocking completely the passage for people and humanitarian aid.

There are no safe spaces in Gaza. Israel has repeatedly attacked so-called ‘safe zones’, killing displaced people. Any claims from Israel that civilians can be safely relocated have no credibility. 

The failure of our leaders to back words with meaningful action is glaring. As the 1.4 million people in Rafah face attacks that our leaders know would be catastrophic, they must finally act to stop the slaughter.

The UK must work urgently to stop any further assault on Rafah from going ahead, demand an immediate lasting ceasefire, resume funding to UNRWA, and suspend arms sales to Israel for as long as there is a risk they may be used to violate international law. 

A ceasefire is the only way to stop the death and destruction, get more aid to those who desperately need it, and safely release the hostages.

There is no Plan B for the people in Rafah.

Notes for editors

  • The full statement and list of UK NGOs is available here.
  • Many of Bond’s member organisations are actively working in or have recently worked in some form in Gaza providing humanitarian assistance to civilians.
  • Bond is 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.
  • For further information, please contact Jess Salter, Media Adviser at Bond at [email protected] or call 07493200979