Children in Gaza and Israel must be protected from humanitarian catastrophe

Statement revised November 7, 2023.

Toronto, ON, October 13, 2023 – As a humanitarian organization which advocates for children’s rights and principled humanitarian action around the world, Plan International Canada is devastated to witness the horrific violence that has engulfed Gaza and Israel.

In recent days, thousands of people have been killed in each of Israel and 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 civilians have suffered since October 7th – 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 put into grave danger. We are also deeply concerned that the evacuation order issued for 1.1 million people in northern Gaza, and the blockade denying food, water, and electricity, defies International Humanitarian Law. Children, who make up half of Gaza’s population, and their families, do not have anywhere safe to go.

Nothing can ever justify the killing or endangerment 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 parties must comply with International Humanitarian Law, including the immediate release of hostages, 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 to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

As an organization 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.

About Plan International Canada

Plan International Canada is a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children for over 85 years and is now active in more than 80 countries.

We stand with children, especially girls, wherever they are oppressed, exploited, left behind or not equally valued. We’re determined optimists and will continue to persevere until we are all equal.

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