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More than 250 humanitarian and human rights organisations call to stop arms transfers to Israel, Palestinian armed groups

Oxfam 10 mins read

An open call to all UN Member States to stop fuelling the crisis in Gaza and avert further humanitarian catastrophe and loss of civilian life.

We, the undersigned organisations, call on all States to immediately halt the transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel and Palestinian armed groups while there is risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

Israel’s bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable. Today, the civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale.

Violations of international humanitarian law

Furthermore, Palestinian armed group-led attacks killed around 1,200 people and took hundreds of Israeli and foreign hostages, including children, and continue to hold more than 130 hostages captive inside Gaza. Armed groups in Gaza have continued to indiscriminately fire rockets toward population centres in Israel, disrupting school for children, displacing and threatening the lives and well being of civilians. Hostage-taking and indiscriminate attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and must end immediately.

Humanitarian agencies, human rights groups, United Nations officials, and more than 153 member states have called for an immediate ceasefire. However, Israel continues to use explosive weapons and munitions in densely populated areas with massive humanitarian consequences for the people of Gaza. World leaders have urged the Israeli government to reduce civilian casualties, yet Israeli military operations in Gaza continue to kill people at unprecedented levels, according to remarks by the UN Secretary-General. Member states have a legal responsibility to use all possible tools to leverage better protection of civilians and adherence to international humanitarian law. Gaza’s remaining lifeline – an internationally-funded humanitarian aid response – has been paralyzed by the intensity of the hostilities, which have included the shooting of aid convoys, recurrent communications blackouts, damaged roads, restrictions on essential supplies, an almost complete ban on commercial supplies, and a bureaucratic process to send aid into Gaza.

Destruction and civilian harm

Israel’s military activity has destroyed a substantial portion of Gaza’s homes, schools, hospitals, water infrastructure, shelters, and refugee camps; the indiscriminate nature of these bombings and a pattern of apparently disproportionate civilian harm they routinely cause is unacceptable. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned of the “heightened risk of atrocity crimes” being committed in Gaza and called on all states to prevent such crimes from unfolding. Since this call, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has only deteriorated further:

  • More than 33,000 Palestinians, at least 14,500 of them children, have been killed over the last six months, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Thousands more are buried under the rubble and presumed dead.
  • More than 75,000 people have been injured, many with life-changing injuries that will leave them with permanent disabilities; these include more than 1,000 Palestinian children who have lost one or more of their upper or lower limbs.
  • An unknown number of Palestinian civilians, reportedly including children, have been unlawfully detained, according to the UN, and must be released.
  • Palestinians continue to be killed nearly every day in areas the Israeli government told them to flee. In the first week of 2024, an Israeli airstrike killed 14 people – the majority children – near an area Israeli forces prescribed as a “humanitarian zone.”
  • Over 70% of Gaza’s population, around 1.7 million people, has been forcibly displaced. Many followed Israeli-issued orders to relocate south and are now being squeezed into tiny pockets of land that cannot sustain human life, which have become breeding ground for the spread of disease.

Children and families face starvation

  • Half of the population of Gaza - around 1.1 million Palestinians - are facing catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation, the highest number ever recorded by the technical humanitarian body responsible for making evidence-based assessments of food insecurity, with famine now imminent in northern Gaza. The entire population of the Gaza Strip - around 2.2 million people - are facing high levels of acute food insecurity. 
  • More than 70% of Gaza’s homes, much of its schools, and its water and sanitation infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged and left the population with almost no access to clean water.
  • Not a single medical facility in the enclave is fully operational and those partially functioning are overwhelmed with trauma cases and shortages of medical supplies and doctors. More than 489 health workers have been killed.
  • At least 243 aid workers* in Gaza have been killed, the highest of any conflict in this century.

Gaza today is the most dangerous place to be a child, a journalist, and an aid worker. Hospitals and schools should never become battlegrounds. These conditions have created a situation of utter desperation inside Gaza, leading top aid officials to declare that there are no longer the conditions for a meaningful humanitarian response in Gaza. This will not change until the siege, the bombardment and the fighting ends. In January, the United Nations described humanitarian access as a “significant deterioration.” Israeli forces have repeatedly denied permission for aid convoys to reach areas north of Wadi Gaza where people are at the highest risk of starvation.

In recent weeks, high ranking Israeli officials have begun calling for the deportation of Palestinian civilians out of Gaza. The forcible transfer within Gaza and deportation of a portion of the population across borders, lacking any guarantees of return, would constitute a serious violation of international law, amounting to an atrocity crime.

We demand an immediate ceasefire

We demand an immediate ceasefire and call on all states to halt the transfer of weapons that can be used to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The UN Security Council must fulfill its responsibility to maintain global peace and security by adopting measures to halt the transfer of weapons to the Government of Israel and Palestinian armed groups and prevent the supply of arms that risk being used in the commission of international crimes, effective immediately.

All states have the obligation to prevent atrocity crimes and promote adherence to norms that protect civilians. The international community is long overdue to live up to these commitments.

Editor’s Note

  • This statement was initially published on 24 January 2024, with the endorsement of 16 humanitarian organisations. Since its publishing, more than 250 civil society organisations around the world have endorsed the call. This statement has been updated to reflect figures that are accurate as of 10 April 2024, including the numbers of people killed, including children, aid workers, and health care workers, the number of those injured, and the latest figures in respect to food insecurity released by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. 
  • Since the original statement was published on 24 January 2024, the following events have occurred:
    • On 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued provisional measures in the case of the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel).
    • On 12 February 2024, the Dutch Court ordered the government of Netherlands to stop supplying F35 fighter jet parts to Israel within seven days, due to the risk of serious violations of international humanitarian law. 
    • On 23 February 2024, UN experts released a joint-statement stating that arms exports to Israel must stop immediately, stating, “The need for an arms embargo on Israel is heightened by the International Court of Justice’s ruling on 26 January 2024 that there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and the continuing serious harm to civilians since then.” 
    • On 25 March 2024, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2728 demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan. 
    • On 28 March 2024, the ICJ issued additional provisional measures alongside observations of the court that “famine is setting in.”
    • On 5 April 2024, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to “cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, the occupying Power…to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.”
  • The total number of aid workers killed includes staff members of UN agencies, NGOs, as well as the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Figures on the annual number of aid workers killed in other context can be found on the Aid Worker Security Database

Undersigned 

 

1

Federation Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion

2

War Child Alliance

3

Christian Aid

4

Norwegian People’s Aid

5

Médecins du Monde International Network

6

Mennonite Central Committee

7

medico international

8

Oxfam

9

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

10

Danish Refugee Council

11

Save the Children

12

Plan International

13

Norwegian Refugee Council

14

Diakonia

15

Amnesty International

16

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

17

Welfare Association

18

War on Want

19

War Childhood Museum Foundation

20

Palestinian Farmers Union

21

WESPAC Foundation, Inc.

22

United Nations Association - UK

23

Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS)

24

Human Rights Sentinel

25

IM Swedish Development Partner

26

Firefly International

27

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

28

Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) GE

29

Nonviolent Peaceforce

30

Peace Action

31

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)

32

Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation

33

France Palestine Mental Health Network

34

Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations

35

Syrian Network for Human Rights.

36

INGO ALG CONSULTANT GROUP

37

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

38

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

39

Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC)

40

The National Organization of Yemeni Reporters SADA

41

L'Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP)

42

Development and Peace - Caritas Canada

43

EmpowerVan

44

Train of Hope Dortmund e.V.

45

Jewish Network for Palestine

46

مدافعات للحقوق والحريات والتنميه

47

PELDA

48

Ina autra senda - Swiss Friends of Combatants for Peace

49

Street Child UK

50

Polish Medical Mission

51

Peace SOS

52

Gender Advisory Team, Cyprus

53

Olof Palmes Internationella Center

54

Cordaid

55

Street Child España

56

Share The World's Resources

57

Church and Peace - Ecumenical Peace Church Network in Europe

58

ForcesWatch

59

Vredesactie

60

Terre des Hommes Netherlands

61

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

62

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

63

Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine

64

PAX

65

EuroMed Rights

66

Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)

67

The Presbyterian Church in Canada

68

The United Church of Canada

69

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

70

CIUSSS Centre-Sud

71

Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy

72

The Business Plan for Peace

73

Secours Catholique - Caritas France

74

Danish Muslim Aid

75

Peace Direct

76

Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine (BA4P)

77

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - UK

78

The Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security

79

Creatura Think & Do Tank

80

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - Germany

81

Legal Action Worldwide (LAW)

82

The Hague Peace Projects

83

Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

84

Nonviolence International

85

Primate's World Relief and Development Fund

86

The United Church of Canada

87

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

88

The Anglican Church of Canada/L'Eglise anglican du Canada

89

MADRE

90

Ekō

91

ReThinking Foreign Policy

92

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Germany

93

Initiatives et Changement (IofC France)

94

WeWorld

95

pax christi - Deutsche Sektion e.V.

96

Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte

97

Centre for Peace Research and Advocacy -CPRA

98

Equal Legal Aid

99

Young Christian Students Movement South Africa

100

Laurentiuskonvent e.V.

101

Socialist Movement of Ghana

102

Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation

103

Japan Fellowship of Reconciliation

104

Action Corps

105

EgyptWide for Human Rights

106

Pax Christi International

107

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) - Greece

108

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

109

KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

110

Committee of 100 in Finland

111

Khulumani Support Group

112

Amos Trust

113

Sanad Basra Organization for Human Rights

114

Association Pour Jérusalem (France)

115

Community of Christ

116

Avaaz

117

Christian Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine

118

Women Volunteers for Peace

119

Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Societal Responsibility

120

Salam For Yemen

121

Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. (VDJ)

122

Association France Palestine Solidarite Paris-Sud

123

Culture de Palestine

124

Emmaus International

125

Kristna Fredsrörelsen / SweFOR

126

Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

127

Medical Association for Prevention of War

128

HelpAge International

129

Quakers in Scotland (General Meeting for Scotland)

130

Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e. V.

131

DAWN MENA

132

Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)

133

NVMP-Artsen voor vrede

134

ActionAid France

135

Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Societal Responsibility (FIfF) e.V.

136

Pax Christi Scotland

137

Shujaa-Initiative

138

Pax Christi Italia

139

Pax Christi - Perú

140

Center for Jewish Nonviolence

141

Peace Movement Aotearoa

142

Center for Peace Education, Miriam College

143

Amos Trust

144

Pax Christi England and Wales

145

Pax Christi Aotearoa NZ

146

Pax Christi Miriam College

147

Welfare Association

148

Age International

149

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

150

Arms Information Centre (RIB e.V.)

151

Caritas International Belgium

152

Medact

153

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

154

Feminist Humanitarian Network

155

Saferworld

156

Mwatana for Human Rights

157

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation

158

International Alert

159

CIVICUS

160

Internationaler Versöhnungsbund - Deutscher Zweig e.V.

161

Pax Christi USA

162

Caritas Internationalis

163

The United Methodist Church — General Board of Church and Society

164

Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine (BA4P)

165

Humance Heal For Human Rights

166

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

167

Min Haqi Foundation to Empower Women Politically and Economically

168

Yoga and Sport with Refugees

169

Caesar Families Association

170

KinderUSA

171

Ocalenie Foundation

172

Aura Freedom International

173

Finnish-Arab Friendship Society

174

Equal Legal Aid

175

Street Child Italy

176

Rebuilding Alliance

177

Bildungsprojekt Sachsen im Klimawandel

178

Diversity Matters North West Ltd

179

Un Ponte Per

180

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

181

Terre des Hommes Italy

182

Middle East Children's Alliance

183

Mercy Corps

184

Permanent Peace Movement

185

Seenaryo

186

Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal (WPD Nepal)

187

France Palestine Mental Health Network

188

Muslim Peace Fellowship

189

UCOS vzw (UNIVERSITY CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION)

190

Protection International (PI)

191

Women's Right to Education Programme

192

Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative

193

IANSA Women Network Nigeria

194

Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition

195

Mayworks Kjipuktuk/Halifax

196

Tamkeen for Legal Aid & Human Rights

197

Doctors Against Genocide

198

The Rights Forum

199

Women for Peace - Finland

200

Business Plan for Peace

201

Righting Relations Canada

202

Foyer du Monde

203

Bahrain Transparency

204

Rete Italiana Pace Disarmo

205

Nonviolence International

206

FundiPau

207

Control Arms

208

Climate Refugees

209

SOL Education Center

210

Centre for Peace Research and Advocacy - CPRA

211

Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos - México

212

Daraj Media

213

Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL)

214

Mujeres para el Dialogo

215

Pastoral Social, Iglesia Anglicana de México

216

Asociación de familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México AFADEM-FEDEFAM

217

Servicio Paz y Justicia (serpaj)-mexico

218

Global Thought

219

American Baptist Churches USA

220

Sojourners

221

Migrant Roots Media

222

Citizens for Just Policy

223

PEOPLES FEDERATION FOR NATIONAL PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT (PEFENAP)

224

Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace (CAMYOSFOP)

225

Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas

226

Vision GRAM-International

227

The United Church of Christ

228

Caritas Middle East and North Africa

229

Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient

230

BDS Berlin

231

SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations)

232

Women in Black - Austria

233

Collective Aid

234

ReFOCUS Media Labs - Poland

235

Fund for Global Human Rights

236

Omega Research Foundation

237

Women for Weapons Trade Transparency

238

United Against Inhumanity (UAI)

239

Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Palestine Israel Network

240

Terre des Hommes International Federation

241

CCFD-Terre Solidaire

242

COCASEN - Coalición Nacional Contra el Abuso Sexual

243

CARE International

244

Fundación Ser de Paz AC

245

Forum o Disarmament and Development of Sri Lanka

246

FTSCD (Forum Togolais de la Société civile pour le Développement)

247

Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

248

MPower Change Action Fund

249

Steirische Friedensplattform

250

Minnesota Peace Project

251

International Rescue Committee

 

For interviews, contact Lucy Brown on 0478 190 099 / lucyb@oxfam.org.au

 

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