Major UK charities urge Gaza ceasefire vote to ease aid constraints

20 Feb 2024 News

By Farnaces/Adobe

International development charities have called on MPs to vote for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza this week, saying the current situation is preventing them from delivering aid to those suffering.

More than 60 UK-based charities including Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and  ActionAid UK have written an open letter to MPs and ministers, urging them to support an SNP-led motion in the House of Commons tomorrow calling for an end to military violence in the region.

International charities also called for a ceasefire to allow “full, unhindered access for humanitarian aid and workers” in a letter published earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the British Red Cross, which launched its fundraising appeal in October last year, told Civil Society it and its partners were facing significant challenges getting aid into Gaza.

“Through our Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory Appeal, we are supporting the vital work of Red Cross and Red Crescent teams at the forefront of this humanitarian response,” said Rory Moylan, head of region for the Middle East and North Africa at British Red Cross.

“But the aid currently allowed to enter Gaza is nowhere near enough to meet the immense humanitarian needs of more than two million people. 

“There is an urgent need to secure a regular flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and for humanitarian organisations, including the Palestine Red Crescent Society, to be able to have safe and unimpeded access to transport this aid to those in need.”

Aid not sufficient

The letter from UK charities, co-ordinated by umbrella body Bond, states: “An immediate and permanent ceasefire will halt the cycle of violence, facilitate the release of all hostages, allow for the restoration of essential services, allow for international humanitarian assistance to reach those in need, and provide an opportunity for dialogue and negotiation towards a lasting peace that benefits everyone in the region. 

“We cannot afford to delay any longer. Private diplomacy and cautious statements are not enough – stronger action and accountability needs to be applied or the humanitarian catastrophe will likely surpass even the horrors we have seen over the last four months.”

Nicola Banks, advocacy lead at Action for Humanity said the charity is particularly concerned by the potential “imminent escalation” of violence in the southern city of Rafah, where displaced civilians are currently sheltering and facing critical shortages. 

“If the international community cannot limit military operations in Rafah, we risk a humanitarian catastrophe surpassing the horrors even of the past months. We need an immediate and permanent ceasefire now – not a ‘pause’, not a ‘ceasefire soon’, a ceasefire now,” she said. 

The letter from global organisations including ActionAid International, Amnesty International, Oxfam International and War Child Alliance, says Rafah “has been the primary entry point for aid and bombardment will then prevent any assistance from getting through”.

“The Israeli military offensive has made it virtually impossible for our collective agencies to meaningfully and effectively deliver humanitarian work, compromising not only safety but also the very principles guiding our humanitarian efforts,” it reads.

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