“We are appalled by last night's heavy bombardment on Rafah, which reportedly killed at least 67 people, including women and children. While we are relieved to learn that two hostages have been returned back to their families, the indiscriminate killing of civilians in order to achieve this aim may constitute another serious violation of international humanitarian law upon a civilian population that has endured months of indiscriminative bombing and decades of collective punishment. An immediate and permanent ceasefire is the only way to ensure the safety of both the people of Gaza and the hostages, and to allow for negotiations about their release and to start conversations about a peace process.
“We remain horrified about the prospect of a full ground invasion in Rafah, which would be catastrophic beyond words for the more than one million displaced people seeking shelter there, adding to months of senseless indiscriminate attacks in front of the eyes of the world on civilians, hospitals, medical personnel, aid workers, journalists and civilian infrastructure that should be protected under international law. Any attacks would undoubtedly result in a huge number of deaths, considering how hugely overcrowded the area is. It would also likely see humanitarian aid operations in Gaza come to a complete halt, against the recent order of the ICJ, as Rafah is the main entry point and operations centre for aid. This would have unimaginable consequences for a population that is already on the brink of famine and barely surviving amid inhumane living conditions.
“We demand that governments around the world do everything in their power to prevent a further onslaught in Rafah and push all parties to agree to an immediate and permanent ceasefire, now. The senseless violence that has been allowed to take place is a collective stain on our common humanity. The international community holds the fate of people in Rafah in their hands. It must stand up for them.”
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