Caritas Australia has echoed a statement from Caritas Internationalis, which expresses deep concern about the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law unfolding in the Holy Land.
In a statement, Caritas Internationalis has reflected on the desperate severity of humanitarian need in Gaza and the devastating impact of the conflict on civilians, especially children. The statement drew attention to growing fears of wider conflict in the Middle East, noting the forced displacement of tens of thousands of people in southern Lebanon as an example of this coming to bear.
The situation in the West Bank was also called out, with Caritas Internationalis stating that it is “deteriorating rapidly with increasing threats to civilian lives, restrictions of free movement, arbitrary detentions and widespread degrading treatment of Palestinian populations, as documented by the United Nations”.
Karam Abi Yazbeck, Regional Coordinator for Caritas Middle East and North Africa, said, “Our partners on the ground in Gaza have just days of water, food and fuel remaining. If humanitarian workers are on their final supplies, then it is hard to imagine the situation for those most vulnerable in Gaza. What we need to see now is immediate political decisions that align with humanitarian needs.
“We remain deeply concerned too about the threat of wider regional conflict, which would lead to further displacement and loss of life in the Middle East. Humanitarian priorities must see us calling for an immediate cessation of violence, and an end to international division,” he concluded.
To support this, Caritas Australia has started a petition that will be presented to Foreign Minister Penny Wong. It calls for an immediate ceasefire and increased humanitarian assistance in Gaza. The petition is available for signing on the Caritas Australia website.