Urges Leaders to Ensure Access to Humanitarian Aid
New York, NY – Following nearly two weeks of bombing across the Gaza Strip, and in advance of President Biden’s address to the nation tonight, Sarah Costa, executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission, issued the following statement:
“Large parts of Gaza are being reduced to rubble. More than 3,700 people – Palestinian families, journalists, medical staff, humanitarian workers – have been killed since the constant bombing began, and more than 1 million people have been forcibly displaced. Tens of thousands of people have been injured.
“The fact is that there is no safe place for anyone in the Gaza Strip now, and unless the bombing stops immediately, we are looking at a humanitarian catastrophe. The health systems and other essential services are overwhelmed, which means more than 50,000 pregnant women now face serious maternal health risks. And, we know that during conflict, women and girls in particular face heightened risk of gender-based violence.
“We urge President Biden to use all diplomatic channels to call for an immediate and total cease-fire on all sides so that aid can be delivered. We are encouraged to hear that 20 trucks of humanitarian assistance may be allowed through the Rafah border crossing in the coming days. However, that is nowhere near enough. Humanitarian aid must be delivered, with unfettered and uninterrupted access, to everyone in need.
“We insist on the protection of all civilians in armed conflict in accordance with international humanitarian law, and the immediate release of all civilian hostages. Let’s be clear, the targeting of hospitals and civilians – by any armed combatant – violates international humanitarian law.”