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Children in Gaza and Israel must be protected

18th October 2023

Plan International UK CEO Rose Caldwell backs Global Plan International’s statement calling for children in Gaza and Israel to be protected from humanitarian catastrophe.

As a humanitarian organisation which advocates for children’s rights and principled humanitarian action around the world, Plan International is devastated to witness the horrific violence that has engulfed Gaza and Israel since October 7.

To date, more than 1,300 people have been killed in Israel, and nearly 1,800 in Gaza, including children and infants. Thousands more have been wounded. Amongst those who have been killed are humanitarian workers as they delivered life-saving support; aid workers must never be a target of war and we condemn these attacks in the strongest terms possible.

We are horrified by the attacks Israeli civilians suffered last weekend – our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected in any way, including those who have lost family members, sustained injuries, or been taken hostage. Nonetheless, we are deeply concerned that the evacuation order issued for 1.1 million people in northern Gaza, and the blockade denying them food, water, and electricity, is not compatible with International Humanitarian Law. Children, who make up half of Gaza’s population, and their families, do not have anywhere safe to go. They cannot flee outside of Gaza. There is no guarantee of safety as they attempt to evacuate, or of their right to ever return to their homes again.

Nothing can ever justify the killing or maiming of children. We condemn the catastrophic violence that is currently unfolding in Gaza and Israel in the strongest terms and call for an immediate and complete ceasefire by all parties involved.

All sides must comply with International Humanitarian Law and do everything possible to safeguard the lives and rights of civilians, especially children. Civilians, especially children must be respected and protected at all times. Civilian infrastructure must never be a target. Again, we call upon all parties involved in the conflict to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

As an organisation striving for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls, we urge the global community to remember that in war and conflict, children are always innocent victims – yet they will endure the deepest suffering.

All children have the right to a life free from violence and fear and it is the collective responsibility of the global community to protect that right. Any delay in bringing this devastating conflict to an end will have profound consequences for children that will endure long after the immediate crisis.

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