International Organizations reject Gaza safe zones proposal

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AMMAN — In a joint statement, the heads of the permanent committee between agencies affirmed on Thursday that the heads of humanitarian organizations will not participate in unilateral proposals regarding the establishment of "safe zones" in Gaza.

According to Amad Media, the statement read: "As leaders in the field of humanitarian assistance, our position is clear: we will not participate in the establishment of any 'safe zones' created in Gaza without the consent of all parties, and unless the basic conditions are provided to ensure safety and other essential needs, with the adoption of a mechanism to supervise their implementation.

In the prevailing circumstances, proposals aimed at establishing 'safe zones' entail the risk of harming civilians, including significant loss of life, and must be rejected. Without suitable conditions, the gathering of civilians in these areas in the context of ongoing hostilities poses the danger of exposing them to attacks and causing further harm. No 'safe zone' is truly secure when declared unilaterally or imposed by the presence of armed forces.

Any discussion of 'safe zones' should not deviate from the commitment that obliges parties to exercise constant care to preserve the lives of civilians—wherever they may be—and to fulfill their basic needs, including facilitating the rapid, secure, and unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to civilians in need.
“We will not participate in unilateral proposals regarding the establishment of ‘safe zones’ in Gaza.”
اضافة اعلان

The intense hostilities and widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure have caused extensive displacement of civilians, with around 1.6 million people displaced in Gaza. Civilian populations in Gaza must have access to the basic necessities that keep them alive, including food, water, shelter, sanitation, health, aid, and security. Humanitarian organizations must have the capacity to obtain sufficient fuel to deliver assistance and provide essential services. The freedom of humanitarian workers in their vital movement, necessary for carrying out their tasks under the provisions of international humanitarian law, must be ensured.

None of the humanitarian organizations we represent have participated in preparing for the arrival of displaced persons to any anticipated 'safe zone' or 'humanitarian zone' in Gaza.

A 'safe zone' means a temporary area designed to preserve the safety of civilians, protect them from combat, and must meet the following conditions for all displaced persons in the 'safe zone':

Agreement by parties to refrain from engaging in combat in this area or its vicinity and to respect its civilian nature.

Providing basic necessities for survival, including food, water, shelter, sanitation, health assistance, and security.

Allowing displaced persons to move freely and return voluntarily to their places of residence as soon as possible.

Failure to meet these basic conditions may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

We also reiterate our call for a humanitarian ceasefire to alleviate suffering, facilitate humanitarian operations, and release hostages.”

Among the signatories:

  • Mr. Martin Griffiths, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
  • Ms. Sophie Sutcliffe, Secretary-General, CARE International
  • Ms. Jane Bakhat, Chair of the Board, International Council of Voluntary Agencies
  • Mr. Jamie Moon, Executive Director, International Council of Voluntary Agencies
  • Ms. Ann Godard, Executive Director, InterAction
  • Ms. Amy E. Pope, Director General, International Organization for Migration
  • Mr. Tegla Dewi Makina, Executive Director, Mercy Corps
  • Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Ms. Munna bint Mahid Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme
  • Mr. Catherine Russell, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • Ms. Cindy McCain, Executive Director, World Food Programme
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) fully supports this statement.

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