STATEMENT: Children in Gaza and Israel must be protected from humanitarian catastrophe
FOR IMMEDIATE USE: Oct. 13, 2023
As a humanitarian organization 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 Oct. 7.
To date, more than 3,100 people have been killed, including children and infants. Thousands more have been wounded. Among those who have been killed are humanitarian workers as they delivered lifesaving 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. We are also 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 and there is no guarantee of safety as they attempt to evacuate.
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 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 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, which will endure long after the immediate crisis.
Update: October 20, 2023
Along with more than 500 organizations, Plan International USA calls for an immediate ceasefire. You can read the full statement here.
About Plan International USA
Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with girls and their communities around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality. We provide the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries.
For more information, and to learn about our commitment to safeguarding, please visit www.planusa.org.