PVA statement on Gaza
PVA statement on Gaza
Release date: 22 November 2023.
We welcome today’s news of a four-day truce and the prospect that some hostages will be returned. The Steering Committee of the People’s Vaccine Alliance issues the following statement, agreed on Monday 20 November. We call for the release of all hostages and a permanent ceasefire.
We, the People’s Vaccine Alliance, are a broad coalition, but we are united by our belief that access to safe and affordable healthcare and medicines is a fundamental human right which belongs to all people, regardless of where they live. We have watched in horror as the violent conflict in Palestine and Israel has stripped these rights from civilians, humanitarians, and health workers.
On October 7, Hamas committed atrocities, killing around 1,200 Israelis and taking 239 hostages, including 40 children. The vast majority of those killed were civilians. Still today, families in Israel await news of their captured loved ones and mourn those who have been lost.
In the weeks that followed, Israel’s government responded with atrocities of its own. The Israeli Defence Forces’ bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians. 40% of those killed were children. Health facilities and personnel have been attacked, leaving 20 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals no longer functioning. Premature babies have been left to die without incubators. More than 100 United Nations staff have been killed. Meanwhile, settler and military violence in the West Bank has increased.
Many of the organisations in our alliance are involved in the frontline humanitarian response to this conflict. However, humanitarian aid has continually been blocked by bombs, shells, rockets, and bullets. Gaza’s population has been deprived of electricity, water, fuel, food, and medicines, setting the perfect conditions for a humanitarian catastrophe.
It is our collective responsibility to speak out. One crime does not justify another. This escalating violence needs to stop, and international humanitarian law must be respected.
We call for an urgent and immediate ceasefire. Medical supplies and humanitarian assistance must be allowed into Gaza in sufficient quantities. Medical and humanitarian workers must be allowed to conduct their work safely. Hostages must be released, and refugees must be guaranteed safe passage and the right to return.
We call for these essential steps to avert further loss of life. The right to health must be upheld and applied equally to Palestinians and Israelis, and a peaceful resolution to this generational conflict must be found.
Notes to editors:
This statement will be followed and complemented by statements from PVA regional secretariats.