A joint statement released today signed by 77 civil society organisations in Australia calls on the Australian government to act on the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
In the statement, the organisations ask for Australia to immediately call for a ceasefire and for an end to the targeting of civilians in Gaza.
Today, as a ground invasion by Israeli forces looms, the people of Gaza face an unrelenting humanitarian crisis. The Israeli government’s complete siege of Gaza has cut people off from clean water, food, fuel, and power. There are no humanitarian corridors to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, and the Rafah border crossing to Egypt has been repeatedly attacked.
In a horrific escalation overnight, Al Ahli hospital in Gaza city was bombed, with initial estimates of 500 people killed. The signatories include Anglican Overseas Aid, who fund the hospital.
As the crisis unfolds and civilians continue to pay the price, signatories ask that the Australian government intervene and call for the Israeli forces to make every effort to protect the lives of civilians. They call for the government to continue to call for restraint and for the protection of civilians, but to condemn all war crimes, regardless of the perpetrator.
These organisations include human rights organisations, trade unions, aid organisations, faith groups, and organisations representing Jewish people and Palestinian people. Among them are Amnesty International Australia, the Australian Centre for International Justice, the Australian Council for International Development, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australian National Imams Council, Arab Council Australia, and the Human Rights Law Centre.
“Amnesty International is greatly concerned about violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israeli forces in Gaza. We have collected evidence of horrific human rights abuses; from the use of white phosphorus, which burns the skin, to airstrikes pounding residential buildings, killing children, to the cutting off of water, food, fuel, and electricity to millions of people.
In spite of this, the Australian Parliament disappointingly chose not to condemn war crimes committed by Israel this week. Calls for restraint and the protection of civilians from the Prime Minister and Minister Wong are welcome, but we call on them to condemn war crimes committed by Israel. We cannot allow any country to commit war crimes with impunity.”
If the government continues to call for the protection of civilians and condemns all violations of international humanitarian law, regardless of the perpetrator, we can make a real difference to the people of Gaza.”
— Nikita White, Campaigner, Amnesty International Australia
Update: As od 26 October, over 100 organisations have signed the joint statement.