CWS urges NZ Government to uphold humanitarian law in Gaza
Disturbed by continued reports of extreme suffering in Gaza, Christian World Service believes that it is high time the NZ government lent its support to international calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
“It might seem easier for the new government not to side with Hamas or Israel but the government has a responsibility to ensure that humanitarian law is respected,” says Trish Murray of Christian World Service. “The New Zealand government in its silence is in danger of being complicit in crimes against the people of Palestine,” she adds. “The evidence of the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza was well documented before the latest onslaught and now with the intensity of Israeli military operations, life for its 1.5 million residents has become even more precarious.”
Under international humanitarian law laid out in the Geneva Conventions, civilians cannot be targeted and disproportionate force cannot be used. Efforts must be made to protect civilian populations.
CWS has received reports from partner groups of the extreme difficulties in delivering humanitarian relief. Staff working in medical clinics have lost family members and fear for the lives of hundreds of Palestinians unable to reach medical assistance because of unremitting attacks from land, sea and air.
CWS calls for:
An immediate ceasefire and an end to the violence from both Israel and Hamas.
The New Zealand government to affirm the importance of protecting human lives and ending the unprecedented attacks on Palestinians.
Unfettered access for humanitarian assistance, including access to medical facilities in Gaza.
A constructive and implementable UN resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and guaranteeing access for humanitarian assistance.
Renewed international efforts to establish constructive negotiations for dialogue between all parties to work for a just resolution of the conflict.
CWS sent NZ$ 50,000 in December for relief efforts. CWS has launched an appeal to provide food, medicine and fuel in Gaza. Donations can be made at www.cws.org.nz or Tel 0800 74 73 72. 6 January 2009