Statement by humanitarian organisations, NGOs and UN organisations on the second anniversary of the Gaza blockade

17 June 2009


We, United Nations and non-governmental humanitarian organisations, express deepening concern over Israel’s continued blockade of the Gaza Strip which has now been in force for two years.

These indiscriminate sanctions are affecting the entire 1.5 million population of Gaza and ordinary women, children and the elderly are the first victims.

The amount of goods allowed into Gaza under the blockade is one quarter of the pre- blockade flow.  Eight out of every ten truckloads contains food but even that is restricted to a mere 18 food items.  Seedlings and calves are not allowed so Gaza‘s farmers cannot make up the nutritional shortfall.  Even clothes and shoes, toys and school books are routinely prohibited.
Furthermore the suffocation of Gaza‘s economy has led to unprecedented unemployment and poverty rates and almost total aid dependency. While Gazans are being kept alive through humanitarian aid, ordinary civilians have lost all quality of life as they fight to survive.

The consequences of Israel‘s recent military operation remain widespread as early recovery materials have been prevented from entering Gaza. Thousands of people are living with holes in their walls, broken windows and no running water.
We call for free and uninhibited access for all humanitarian assistance in accordance with the international agreements and in accordance with universally recognised international human rights and humanitarian law standards. We also call for a return to normalized trade to enable the poverty and unemployment rates to decrease.

The blockade of the Gaza Strip is creating an atmosphere of deprivation in Gaza that can only deepen the sense of hopelessness and despair among people. The people of Gaza need to be shown an alternative of hope and dignity. Allowing human development and prosperity to take hold is an essential first step towards the establishment of lasting peace.

Signed By:

Action Against Hunger
Acsur-Las Segovias
American Friends of UNRWA
American Near East Refugee Aid
Asamblea de Cooperacion Por la Paz
CARE International West Bank and Gaza.
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
Defense for Children International
Enfants du Monde-Droits de l’Homme
International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy - Canada
Japan International Volunteer Centre
Life Source
Medecins du Monde France
Medecins du Monde Spain
Medecins du Monde Switzerland
Medical Aid for Palestinians
Movement for Peace
Mujeres por la Paz y Acción Solidaria de Palestina
Norwegian People’s Aid
Norwegian Refugee Council
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Oxfam International
Paz Ahora
Peace and Solidarity Haydée Santamaría, Cultural Asociation
Premiere Urgence
Relief International
Spanish Committee of UNHCR
Spanish Committee of UNRWA
Swedish Organization for Individual Relief
Terre des Hommes Italy
United Nations Development Fund for Women
United Nations Relief and Works Agency
War Child Holland
World Vision International

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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