Thousands of civilians have been killed in the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza. As the world watches in horror, Amnesty International has been researching, monitoring, and documenting human rights violations, campaigning for the protection of civilians. Amnesty’s Digital Evidence Lab has been verifying evidence of violations of international humanitarian law, like the use of white phosphorus by the Israeli Defence Force.
What needs to be done?
The Australian Government must call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further loss of civilian lives, and to ensure access to life-saving aid for people in Gaza amidst an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.
The news that at least 50 hostages held by Hamas and 150 Palestinian detainees and prisoners in Israeli jails will be released will be a welcome relief for all those involved and their families. And the announcement of an initial four-day long humanitarian pause is a positive step. But far more action is needed to address ongoing suffering and injustice in Gaza. The international community including Australia must urgently advocate for this truce to evolve into a sustained ceasefire. After four days, we can’t allow bombs to one again be dropped on the people of Gaza; for death and destruction to continue!
The Foreign Minister has called for a humanitarian pause, but this is not enough. A ceasefire is urgently needed, and Australia, as an ally and supporter of the Israeli Government, must call for a ceasefire, so civilians can be protected.
Amnesty International is also calling on all parties to abide by international law, and make every effort to avoid civilian bloodshed. Neither justice nor security can be achieved by a civilian bloodbath in Gaza. Amnesty International is urging:
- The Australian Government to use all its diplomatic leverage to call for a ceasefire immediately.
- An end to unlawful attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, and disproportionate attacks.
- Israel to immediately allow unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid into the occupied Gaza Strip, lift its 16-year illegal blockade on Gaza, and grant immediate access to independent investigators,
- The international community to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict given that serious violations amounting to crimes under international law are being committed,
- The International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into the situation of Palestine to proceed and to receive full support and all necessary resources,
- Hamas and all other armed groups to release unconditionally and immediately all civilian hostages and to treat all those being held captive humanely, including by providing medical treatment, pending their release,
- Israel to release all Palestinians who are arbitrarily detained, and
- The root causes of the conflict to be addressed, including through dismantling Israel’s system of apartheid against all Palestinians.
What can you do?
1. Take action and Share the calls on social media
With each day that passes the humanitarian catastrophe is getting worse for civilians in Gaza and for the hostages kidnapped by Hamas. Australia has abstained from a resolution at the United Nations calling for a ceasefire. We need to make it clear that Australians support a ceasefire, and want their government to stand with them and call for a ceasefire today. A ceasefire will;
- Ensure there is a stop to unlawful attacks by all parties, halting the mounting death toll in Gaza,
- Enable aid agencies to get life-saving aid into the Gaza strip to address the staggering levels of human suffering. It will allow hospitals to receive life-saving medicines, fuel and equipment they desperately need and to repair damaged wards,
- Provide opportunities to negotiate the release of hostages detained in Gaza, and
- Allow for independent international investigations to take place into the war
If you have already taken action on this, we ask you share the action with your networks, family and friends, and get them to take action and call for a ceasefire by all parties to end civilian suffering in Gaza! Make a post on your social media using the message #CeasefireNOW and link in our action (by copying and pasting this link)
2. Educate yourself, Amplify lived experience voices and Combat mis-information and dis-information
Amplifying lived experience voices can be a transformative way to create empathy and understanding. Share the stories of Palestinians and those affected by the crisis in Gaza on your social media platforms. Amnesty International has gathered first-hand testimonies from individuals enduring the crisis. Please, share these people’s stories on your social media so that your friends and family know what is happening in Gaza right now.
Follow the voices of Sara Saleh, Randa Abdel Fattah, Fahad Ali, and many more Palestinians you can find here who are sharing their experiences and raising awareness. Ensure that you continue to engage with these voices beyond a single post. Share updates on their experiences, highlight their progress and regularly check in to show your support.
EDUCATING YOURSELF ON THE CRISIS IN GAZA
To be effective advocates for the #CeasefireNOW campaign, it’s crucial to educate ourselves about the Gaza crisis and its broader context. Amnesty International can be your primary source for information, but we also want to provide you with additional resources from other organisations. While we share these external resources, please note that Amnesty International may not endorse everything shared on these platforms. In addition to Amnesty’s resources, several other organisations offer valuable insights and information related to the Gaza crisis. These organisations include:
- APAN (Australia Palestine Advocacy Network): APAN is a leading Australian organization dedicated to advocating for justice and human rights in Palestine. Visit their website for reports, webinars, and updates on the Gaza crisis.
- Eyes on Palestine: This platform provides a unique perspective on the Palestinian situation through art, culture, and multimedia projects. It offers a different way to understand the impact of the crisis.
- Stand With Palestine (Australia): This Australia-specific website offers a range of resources, including information on where to donate, how to contact your MPs, events across Australia, and legal aid support for the Gaza crisis.
- Palestinians Sharing Their Stories: Listening to the voices of Palestinians living through the crisis is an essential aspect of understanding the situation. Explore personal testimonies and experiences shared by Palestinians here.
- Loud Jew Collective: This organisation includes Jewish voices against oppression and for justice in Palestine. Their resources offer insights into the perspectives of Jews supporting the Palestinian cause.
- Jews Against Fascism: This group advocates for human rights and justice, particularly in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their materials provide an alternative viewpoint within the Jewish community.
- Jews Against the Occupation: This organisation advocates for a just and equitable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their resources provide alternative viewpoints within the Jewish community.
Webinar “Mobilising for Gaza: Understanding the Crisis and Taking Action”
Re-watch our webinar where we discussed the situation unfolding in Gaza, and hear from our speakers on what you need to know and how you can take action. Head to our Youtube channel.
COMBAT MISINFORMATION RESOURCE
Stay tuned for an upcoming resource designed to equip you with tools to identify and counter misinformation and disinformation. This resource will also include a section on debunking myths and practical ways to apply this knowledge in your online and offline activities. Check back here in one/two weeks to access it.
HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS, FAMILY, COLLEAGUES AND FELLOW ACTIVISTS
As an ally, one of the most powerful things you can do is have conversations with friends, family and your neighbours. By speaking out, you can give others an opportunity to learn, reflect and act. You’re also standing up for what you believe in – empathy, compassion and fairness. More details and direction on this will be in the above guide once published.
3. Show up and Stand in Solidarity with Communities affected by the crisis
Showing up and standing in solidarity with those directly affected by the Gaza crisis is a powerful way to lend your support. Your presence at rallies and vigils sends a clear message of unity and compassion for those who may not have a voice in this conflict. Together, we can amplify the call for peace and an end to civilian suffering in Gaza.
Protests are an important way in which people can speak the truth to those in power and also show solidarity for those who can’t speak their truth to power. We need your support now more than ever to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and to call for a ceasefire by all parties to end civilian suffering in Gaza!
You can find all the upcoming events, rallies and solidarity vigils by typing your postcode in the map below or on the Events List on the APAN Website. We try to update this weekly but if you have an event coming up or we are missing something email email@example.com to get it added to the map.
STAYING SAFE AT PROTEST
Some protests will be much safer than others, for example those which are overtly family-friendly. If you’re not sure what to expect, contact the organisers to get more information.
If there is a possibility that the situation could become dangerous, there are ways you can be prepared to make sure you stay safe.
- 1. Know your rights: You have a right to peacefully assemble, a right to privacy and a right to protest. If you get injured, you have the right to receive medical care. Police must avoid the use of force.
- 2. Plan ahead: Find out where the protest is taking place and look for information about what to expect. Make a plan with your friends in case your group gets separated.
- 3. Wear protective clothing: You may need clothing that covers all your skin to protect you from exposure to sun and pepper spray. Bring shatter-resistant eye protection like sunglasses or swim goggles and a bandana soaked in water, lemon juice or vinegar that you can wear over your nose and mouth.
- 4. Pack emergency supplies: Bring a basic first-aid kit, water that you can use to clean your eyes and face, identification, enough cash for a pay-phone call and transport and a fresh set of clothes.
WANT TO DO MORE?
Become a legal observer. The list below include links to legal observer groups across Australia. Legal observers are trained volunteers who act as independent witnesses of police behaviour at protests. They do not provide legal advice, but instead monitor, record and report instances of unlawful or improper police action. It is important to note legal observers are not lawyers, medics, media spokespeople or police liaisons.
- National: Activist Rights – a website providing information on activist legal rights, including how to prepare, common charges and offences, as well as police powers and your rights.
- NSW: Legal Observers NSW Website | Legal Observers NSW Instagram
- VIC: Melbourne Activist Legal
- SA: No centralised legal observer group but Peaceful Purpose Training has some useful resources.
- QLD: No centralised legal observer group but Action Ready (a not-for-profit organisation formed by volunteers in Meanjin) can provide general legal briefings prior to an action and support people take on legal marshal/legal observer roles.
- NT: No centralised legal observer group. Your Rights – A Short Guide for Young Activists in the NT
- WA: No centralised legal observer group. A Short Guide for Activists in Western Australia
- ACT: No centralised legal observer group. Practical Guide to Law and Protests in the Australian Capital Territory
4. Email your MP
Everyday people in the community taking the time to communicate to their MP is powerful.
We can’t stress enough how important it is that politicians hear from people from all walks of life, and from their constituents. Your MP is elected to represent you, so it’s important they know that you as a constituent (and many other constituents) want a ceasefire, and that you want your MP, and your elected representative, to reflect those views. That is the power our collective voices can bring and the impact you can achieve, regardless of how much you know about an issue.
And all it takes is an email or a letter. Make use of the action tool below and follow these simple tips to send an effective message.
- Make sure to personalise the email template with your own personal concerns and connections to the issue. Specify you are a constituent in their electorate – to an MP, you voice counts the most. Specify you are also part of Amnesty International Australia to show there is a bigger constituency or group behind you.
- Be concise with your concerns and have a clear ask.
- Let them know you expect an answer and will follow up.
You will find customised templates for each MP and details to find their contact details in our action tool, all you need to do is personalise the email and send it off.
5. Call your MP
Another way you can engage with your MP is by phoning their office. MPs rely on this as one way of knowing the level of support an issue has in their electorate. It only takes a few phone calls for them to notice there is support for an issue. If you can coordinate with others to phone their office and call for a ceasefire they will take note. Keep in mind that through this method you most likely won’t get to speak with the MP. You will most likely speak with a staff member or leave a voicemail. It’s simple to do, only takes a few minutes, and makes a big difference.
- Practice what you want to say before calling.
- Identify yourself as a local constituent (and a supporter of Amnesty International Australia if you wish).
- Ask to leave a message for your local MP if you reach a staff member.
- Explain why you are calling and outline your key concerns in a concise way.
- Calling works if you don’t do it too often. If you haven’t hear anything from them for a week or two, follow up with another call to ask for an update.
Here are some key talking points to include:
- I am calling because I support a ceasefire in the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas,
- I am concerned that Amnesty International has documented war crimes by all parties to this conflict, that civilians are dying at unprecedented rates, and with each day that passes the humanitarian catastrophe is getting worse for civilians in Gaza and for the hostages kidnapped by Hamas,
- A ceasefire will halt the mounting death toll in Gaza, enable aid agencies to get life-saving aid into Gaza, including medical equipment, provide opportunities to negotiate the release of hostages, and allow for independent international investigations to take place into war crimes,
- We need to see the Australian Government calling for a ceasefire, and I ask that my elected representative join that call.
6. Engage with your MPs on their social platforms
Related to Action 4 and 5, visit your MP’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and engage with the MP by adding comments on their social posts. Staffers monitor these comments and report to the MPs. Avoid making angry posts and engage in a constructive manner.