18 UN agencies and NGOs call for a Ceasefire in Gaza now!

"We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire", Statement by Principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, on the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory
People hold placards in front of Japan-based NGO Peace Boat in the port of Piraeus, Greece, November 3, 2023. The cruise ship starts a global cruise calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, at the port, where it will dock its cruise ship and hold a protest, before travelling to 20 other ports around the world as part of the initiative. REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

“We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire”

NEW YORK/GENEVA/ROME, 5 November 2023 – For almost a month, 31 days to be precise, “the world has been watching the unfolding situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in shock and horror at the spiralling numbers of lives lost and torn apart,” reads a statement issued by this collective yesterday, November 5.

Eighteen agencies of the United Nations (UN) and NGOs –including UNCHR, Un Women, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (SR on HR of IDPs), WHO among several others—have urged a humanitarian ceasefire with immediate effect.

In Israel, close to 1,400 people have been killed and thousands have been injured, according to the Israeli authorities. More than 200 people, including children, have been taken hostage. Rockets continue to traumatize families. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. This is horrific, says the public statement.

“However, the horrific killings of even more civilians in Gaza is an outrage, as is cutting off
2.2 million Palestinians from food, water, medicine, electricity and fuel. In Gaza, according to the Ministry of Health, nearly 9,500 people have been killed, including 3,900 children and over 2,400 women. More than 23,000 injured people require immediate treatment within overstretched hospitals.” The brief but detailed public statement lays down the horrific cost on Gaza and the West Bank of the relentless bombing by Israel.

“An entire population is besieged and under attack, denied access to the essentials for survival, bombed in their homes, shelters, hospitals and places of worship. This is unacceptable.

“More than 100 attacks against health care have been reported.

“Scores of aid workers have been killed since October 7 including 88 UNRWA colleagues – the highest number of United Nations fatalities ever recorded in a single conflict.

“We renew our plea for the parties to respect all their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

“We renew our call for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians held hostage.

“Civilians and the infrastructure they rely on – including hospitals, shelters and schools – must be protected.

“More aid – food, water, medicine and of course fuel – must enter Gaza safely, swiftly and at the scale needed, and must reach people in need, especially women and children, wherever they are.

“We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now. 

The signatories include:

  • Mr. Martin Griffiths, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Ms. Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General, CARE International
  • Ms. Jane Backhurst, Chair of ICVA Board (Christian Aid)
  • Mr. Jamie Munn, Executive Director, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)
  • Ms. Anne Goddard, Chief Executive Officer and President a.i., InterAction
  • Ms. Amy E. Pope, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Ms. Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps
  • Mr. Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Ms. Janti Soeripto, President and Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children
  • Ms. Paula Gaviria Betancur, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (SR on HR of IDPs)
  • Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)
  • Ms. Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Ms. Sima Bahous, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • Ms. Cindy McCain, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP)
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)  



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