Share-Net International calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and protection of access to healthcare, humanitarian assistance, and press freedom.
As a network committed to promoting human rights, health, justice, and humanitarian principles, Share-Net International (SNI) is deeply distressed by the ongoing attacks on Gaza and escalating aggression across occupied Palestine. The resumption of hostilities after the recent temporary pause in bombardment only perpetuates the cycle of violence and undermines efforts to achieve a sustainable and just resolution to the conflict. We urgently call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire to prevent further harm on all sides and to allow the possibility for meaningful dialogue and peace negotiations.
As we reflect on these events and various ongoing conflicts around the world, it is disheartening to observe a disturbing trend of increasing global violence. This is particularly poignant to note in 2023, the year which saw the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. It is a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges we face in upholding the principles enshrined in the declaration.
Upholding these principles is both a humanitarian and legal requirement, even during times of conflict. Indiscriminate bombing of one of the world’s most densely populated territories completely disregards this, as does the reported use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in both Israel and Palestine. SNI continues to support our members who work on this important issue across many contexts.
The targeting of hospitals and other health infrastructure has severely hindered access to healthcare for the people of Gaza, exacerbating an already fragile healthcare system. Medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed, limiting the capacity to treat those in need. This not only endangers lives but also infringes upon the fundamental right to health, with the spread of disease and further death all but inevitable. The destruction of health infrastructure – alongside restriction of food, water, and humanitarian aid – severely compromises the ability of people to claim and exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
This is evident in the disruption of essential maternal services which jeopardises the health and safety of pregnant people, new parents, and babies – leaving twenty-five people a day to give birth in unimaginable conditions. As the work of many SNI members highlights, access to prenatal care, safe delivery, and postnatal support is critical for pregnant people’s well-being and the health of newborns. The international community must prioritise the protection and restoration of maternal and neonatal healthcare services.
In addition to newborns killed due to attacks on neonatal services, the number of children killed and injured in the attacks is staggeringly high and deeply alarming. Too often, children bear the brunt of the conflict, and face physical and psychological trauma that will have long-lasting effects. The safety and well-being of children must be prioritised through prevention of further harm and provision of necessary support for their recovery.
Share-Net International members work closely with the media, and as a network we are deeply concerned by the targeting, killing, exclusion and censorship of journalists in Gaza. This poses a severe threat to the safety and freedom of the press, and right to information for both Palestinians and the international community. Journalists play a crucial role in providing accurate and timely information, and their safety must be protected to ensure the public’s access to information, and to maintain transparency during times of crisis.
In the hope of a more peaceful 2024, Share-Net International calls on the international community to demand an immediate cease to hostilities, and engagement in meaningful dialogue to find a peaceful resolution.
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