Joint Letter to Taoiseach on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Taoiseach,

We recognise the diplomatic and economic contributions the Irish government have made so far to address the crisis in Gaza. This devastating conflict reached its 100th day on the 14th of January, 2024. We, the undersigned healthcare organisations and advocacy groups, are writing to collectively express our deep concern about the evolving humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and we are calling on the government to intensify their efforts to prevent further mortality and morbidity.

A staggering humanitarian crisis is ongoing in Gaza, one that is worsening daily. Between October 7th 2023, and January 21st 2024, it is reported by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs that 25,105 Palestinians have been killed. In addition, 1.7 million people have been displaced, and 62,681 people have been injured. The vast majority of the killed and injured are women and children.

Hunger and disease may kill even more people than military actions. Access to food, water, sanitation and healthcare are human rights. The restrictions on deliveries of medical supplies and equipment have left those in need of medical attention at great risk. According to the latest report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), the entire population in the Gaza Strip (about 2.2 million people) is classified in IPC Phase 3 or above (Crisis or worse). This is the highest share of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity that the IPC initiative has ever classified for any given area or country. Four out of five people worldwide experiencing catastrophic hunger are based in Gaza. The healthcare system in Gaza has collapsed. According to the WHO, hospitals in Gaza and other vital medical infrastructure have been attacked nearly 600 times since October 7th. Such attacks are clear violations of international humanitarian law.

As you, Taoiseach, have consistently pointed out, it is our collective responsibility to address the suffering of innocent civilians who bear the brunt of conflicts beyond their control. It is the will of the Irish people that this suffering is urgently addressed. Tens of thousands marched in towns and cities throughout Ireland on a global day of action on Saturday, January 13th.

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh, an Irish lawyer representing South Africa in its case alleging Israel is carrying out a genocide, said that “nobody is safe” in Gaza. She told the International Court of Justice that “the horror of the genocide against the Palestinian people is being live-streamed around the world”.

We, the undersigned healthcare and advocacy organisations, wish to add our voices to the over 1,000 allied healthcare professionals who recently signed a letter calling on Ireland to join with South Africa in the case against Israel in the International Court of Justice and to support the request for provisional measures to cease hostilities.

Furthermore, we jointly urge the Irish government to take the additional following actions:

  • Maintain intensive diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire.
  • Call on Israel to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2720 to ensure long-term unobstructed and safe delivery routes for lifesaving humanitarian aid supplies to Gaza, including medical supplies and equipment. This must also include fuel, as it is vital to the functioning of the health system in Gaza.
  • Further increase financial support for humanitarian organisations working in Palestine, particularly those focused on healthcare and medical assistance.
  • Continue to advocate at the international level for a long-term peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We firmly believe that Ireland, with its longstanding commitment to human rights and humanitarian values, can make a significant positive impact by taking these actions. Thank you for your attention on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

 

Access to Medicines Ireland

Action Aid Ireland

The Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland

Comhlámh

Comhlámh Justice for Palestine

Friends of the Earth Ireland

Gaza Paediatric Care Initiative

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Irish Doctors for the Environment

Irish Global Health Network

Irish Society of Specialists in Public Health Medicine

Safetynet Primary Care

Spirasi

Trinity College Dublin Centre for Global Health

Tumaini La Maisha