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Call for stronger international action in Gaza conflict


Caritas Australia has joined its counterparts in Canada and New Zealand in calling for their government heads to act on earlier calls for a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza.

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The prime ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand called for a ceasefire and peace in Gaza in December and in February they reiterated the call, adding that they were “gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah”.

In a joint statement, the three Caritas agencies said that as members of the world’s second-largest humanitarian association operating in over 160 countries and as organisations that have provided aid in Gaza and the West Bank for decades, they “acknowledge the importance of these statements and share the prime ministers’ assessment”.

“A month on, however, we are disturbed to note that Israel is not heeding their call to ‘listen to the international community’ and that the plight of vulnerable civilians in Gaza is worsening rapidly,” the statement said.

“The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports over 31,300 people killed and over 73,100 injured in Gaza. Moreover, starvation has become a very real danger. Already 27 people, including 23 children, have died of malnutrition and about half a million people are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Caritas Australia, Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand urged the prime ministers and governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand to deploy all diplomatic, political, legal and economic means possible to immediately bring about:

“These measures are urgently needed to prevent famine, additional destruction and the further regional spread of the conflict,” they said.

“As the people of Gaza mark the holy periods of Lent and Ramadan, we call on our prime ministers to act on their conviction ‘that a sustainable ceasefire is necessary to finding a path towards securing lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians’.”

The statement comes as the Australian Government announced it would resume its $6 million in funding to the United Nations aid agency, UNRWA, in Gaza.

Caritas Australia had called for a resumption of this funding, saying that airdrops should be a last resort and would not avert famine.

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