For the past several weeks, the global community has looked on with horror at events unfolding in the Middle East. Brutal attacks by Hamas in Israel left more than 10,569 people dead while more than 200 people were kidnapped. As Israel responds, more than 26,475 civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, most of them children and women, have been killed by airstrikes and violence. We grieve for each of these lives lost and call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, including the immediate release of hostages, the protection of civilians and the restoration of safe humanitarian access.
The conflict itself has increased tensions in both mainstream and social media. Around the world and here in Canada, we see an alarming rise in incidents of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, which seek to dehumanize and marginalize people rather than foster mutual understanding and empathy.
As the level of rhetoric becomes inflamed, the members of the Humanitarian Coalition have a simple call to our political leaders, media pundits and, indeed, all Canadians. The message is: Enough suffering. Enough hate. More humanity.
Enough hesitation on an immediate ceasefire by all parties to avert a deepening humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Thousands of civilians have already died and many more will be killed, injured or harmed if the conflict continues. This is not a time for our government to be silent. The time for action is now.
Enough of toxic language that reduces the value of lives in this horrible conflict.
And enough of claims that harming civilians in either Israel or Gaza is ever justified by recent events or the pain of history.
The Humanitarian Coalition, which represents 12 of Canada’s largest international aid agencies, has joined with partners around the world in calling for a ceasefire and immediate, unconditional humanitarian access to Gaza.
The Humanitarian Coalition has also launched the Gaza Humanitarian Emergency Appeal to encourage donations from Canadians to provide lifesaving care and supplies to the innocent children, women and men of Gaza, as well as in the West Bank where needs are growing.
Our member agencies have been active in the region for many years and work alongside trusted partners, in coordination with the United Nations, to ensure that our aid is used strictly for humanitarian purposes. While some of our members have longer-term programming in Israel, the Israeli government has not appealed for international humanitarian assistance at this time.
For some, the decision to make a donation might be difficult, hindered by the concern it could imply taking sides in this conflict. However, as humanitarians, our most important consideration has always been, and always will be, providing aid where the needs are greatest, as we do in Afghanistan, Haiti, Myanmar, Sudan, Ukraine, and elsewhere.
We are motivated by our shared commitment to the four key pillars of humanitarian assistance – humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
And, it is based on those principles that we say now: Enough suffering. Enough hate. More humanity.
- Barbara Grantham – Co-Chair of the Humanitarian Coalition, President & CEO of CARE Canada
- Andy Harrington – Co-Chair of the Humanitarian Coalition, Executive Director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank
- Richard Morgan – Executive Director, Humanitarian Coalition
From the Humanitarian Coalition Website.