Eight of Australia’s biggest aid and humanitarian agencies have today welcomed a joint statement signed by Prime Minister Albanese calling for “urgent international efforts towards a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza.
Plan International Australia, ChildFund Australia, Save the Children Australia, Oaktree, Oxfam Australia, ActionAid Australia, Caritas Australia and Union Aid Abroad also welcome the Australian Government backing this call with action by voting for a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire at the United Nations General Assembly.
With more than 18,000 people – including over 7,000 children – killed in Gaza in the last two months according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, and those who have survived facing catastrophic conditions without access to enough clean water, food or medical supplies, the urgency of this call cannot be overstated. Every day we do not have an immediate and permanent ceasefire more civilians and children will die.
By casting its vote at the United Nations General Assembly this morning, Australia now belatedly joins 152 countries across the world that are calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. The voice for humanity is growing louder and more urgent by the day.
Australia must now do everything in its power to stop the indiscriminate bombing killing children, women and their families in Gaza by pushing for a permanent and lasting ceasefire, an end to the siege on lifesaving humanitarian aid, and the full protection and safety of civilians in accordance with international law and human rights.
For interviews, contact:
Plan International Australia – Claire Knox on 0452 326 549 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Oxfam Australia – Lily Partland on 0418 118 687 / email@example.com
Union Aid Abroad – Lachlan Batchelor on 0404 469 462 / firstname.lastname@example.org
ActionAid Australia – Katherine Tu on 0422 430 282 / email@example.com
ChildFund Australia – Jackie McKenzie on 0418 299 517 / JMcKenzie@childfund.org.au
Caritas Australia – Tara Harvey on 0484002021 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Oaktree Australia – Alyssa Harding on 0448 767 124 / email@example.com
Save the Children Australia, Plan International Australia, Oaktree and ChildFund Australia welcomes the news of a temporary truce and the release of some of the hostages but urges the Australian Government to call for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza and the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid so that children and their families can access food, water and lifesaving medical supplies. Of the two million people in Gaza, over 50 percent are aged under 18 years.
Given the degree of devastation on the ground, a temporary truce will not be adequate to protect children and ensure the flow of aid and humanitarian assistance required by affected civilians.
We are a group of experienced and trusted child rights’ organisations whose collective work reaches over 100 million children in over 100 countries. We condemn the catastrophic violence that is currently unfolding in Gaza and Israel in the strongest terms, and the significant and ongoing violation of child rights, including grave violations. Nothing can ever justify the killing or maiming of children.
Australia has been a strong advocate for an international rules-based order and for compliance with International Humanitarian Law. We are calling for the Australian Government to:
- call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire, in line with international consensus
- use diplomatic channels to encourage the UNGA to take action to protect children and civilians in the OPT based on General Resolution 377
- continue to call for all parties to the conflict to observe their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law
- call for the safe release of all hostages
- call for a safe pathway for the permanent entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza to meet urgent humanitarian need including food, clean water and medical supplies.
- call attention to the special protection owed to children in armed conflict
- call on all parties to cease military activity in and around the al-Shifa hospital and ensure no further disruption to lifesaving medical interventions and no harm to critical medical equipment
- as a signatory to the International Safe Schools Declaration condemn continued attacks on and threats against schools, children, teachers and other civilians taking shelter in schools (over 250 education facilities have been struck in Gaza since 7 October)
A humanitarian catastrophe is worsening every day in Gaza – the United Nations has described Gaza as a ‘graveyard for thousands of children’. At the time of writing, over 14,000 civilians, including 4,500 children, have been killed in Gaza over the past four weeks, with more than 1500 children missing. That means one child is being killed every 10 minutes – something we, and the Australian people, refuse to accept.
For those children who have survived, they are living in an increasingly desperate and deteriorating situation, without access to clean water, food or medicine. Although aid deliveries have resumed, it is a drop in the ocean and nowhere near enough. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees has reported that as of 19 November, 1,268 trucks have entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza since 21 October. Critically, humanitarian operations are being severely limited due to lack of fuel. According to the UN, at least 100 trucks a day are needed to supply desperately needed food, water, medicine, and fuel – which would be the equivalent of 4,700 trucks since 7 October, at a minimum. This does not take into account the greatly increased humanitarian need due to the conflict.
The impact on the children of Gaza will endure long after the immediate crisis. The trauma of this war will leave them with lifelong and profound psycho-social and mental health impacts.
All children have the right to a life free from violence and fear. Every child’s life – Palestinian and Israeli – should be valued and treated with humanity.
We urgently call on the Australian Government to demand a lasting ceasefire and a resumption of the required humanitarian aid. Further delay is unacceptable.
+61 425 562 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy CEO, Plan International Australia
+61 432 081 238 or email@example.com
Global Programs Director, ChildFund Australia