• Press Release

More Than 250 Humanitarian and Human Rights Organizations Call to Stop Arms Transfers to Israel, Palestinian Armed Groups

April 12, 2024

Destruction in Gaza
(Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu via Getty Images)
An open call to all UN Member States to stop fueling the crisis in Gaza and avert further humanitarian catastrophe and loss of civilian life.

We, the undersigned organizations, call on all States to immediately halt the transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel and Palestinian armed groups while there is risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

Israel’s bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable. Today, the civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale.

Violations of international humanitarian law

Furthermore, Palestinian armed group-led attacks killed around 1,200 people and took hundreds of Israeli and foreign hostages, including children, and continue to hold more than 130 hostages captive inside Gaza. Armed groups in Gaza have continued to indiscriminately fire rockets toward population centers in Israel, disrupting school for children, displacing and threatening the lives and well being of civilians. Hostage-taking and indiscriminate attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and must end immediately.

Humanitarian agencies, human rights groups, United Nations officials, and more than 153 member states have called for an immediate ceasefire. However, Israel continues to use explosive weapons and munitions in densely populated areas with massive humanitarian consequences for the people of Gaza.  World leaders have urged the Israeli government to reduce civilian casualties, yet Israeli military operations in Gaza continue to kill people at unprecedented levels, according to recent remarks by the UN Secretary-General. Member states have a legal responsibility to use all possible tools to leverage better protection of civilians and adherence to international humanitarian law. Gaza’s remaining lifeline – an internationally-funded humanitarian aid response – has been paralyzed by the intensity of the hostilities, which have included the shooting of aid convoys, recurrent communications blackouts, damaged roads, restrictions on essential supplies, an almost complete ban on commercial supplies, and a bureaucratic process to send aid into Gaza.

Destruction and civilian harm

Israel’s military activity has destroyed a substantial portion of Gaza’s homes, schools, hospitals, water infrastructure, shelters, and refugee camps; the indiscriminate nature of these bombings and, a pattern of apparently disproportionate civilian harm they routinely cause, is unacceptable. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned of the “heightened risk of atrocity crimes” being committed in Gaza and called on all states to prevent such crimes from unfolding. Since this call, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has only deteriorated further:

  • More than 25,000 Palestinians, at least 10,000 of them children, have been killed in less than four months, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Thousands more are buried under the rubble and presumed dead.
  • More than 62,000 people have been injured, many with life-changing injuries that will leave them with permanent disabilities; these include more than 1,000 Palestinian children who have lost one or more of their upper or lower limbs.
  • An unknown number of Palestinian civilians, reportedly including children, have been unlawfully detained, according to the UN, and must be released.
  • Palestinians continue to be killed nearly every day in areas the Israeli government told them to flee. In the first week of 2024, an Israeli airstrike killed 14 people – the majority children – near an area Israeli forces prescribed as a “humanitarian zone.”
  • Over 85% of Gaza’s population, around 1.9 million people, has been forcibly displaced. Many followed Israeli-issued orders to relocate south and are now being squeezed into tiny pockets of land that cannot sustain human life, which have become breeding ground for the spread of disease.
Children and families face starvation
  • More than half of a million Palestinians in Gaza face starvation and more than 90% of the population faces acute food insecurity, the highest proportion ever recorded by a technical humanitarian body responsible for making evidence-based assessments of food insecurity.
  • More than 70% of Gaza’s homes, much of its schools, and its water and sanitation infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged and left the population with almost no access to clean water.
  • Not a single medical facility in the enclave is fully operational and those partially functioning are overwhelmed with trauma cases and shortages of medical supplies and doctors. More than 300 health workers have been killed.
  • At least 167* aid workers in Gaza have been killed, the highest of any conflict in this century.

Gaza today is the most dangerous place to be a child, a journalist, and an aid worker. Hospitals and schools should never become battlegrounds. These conditions have created a situation of utter desperation inside Gaza, leading top aid officials to declare that there are no longer the conditions for a meaningful humanitarian response in Gaza. This will not change until the siege, the bombardment and the fighting ends. The United Nations recently described humanitarian access in January so far as a “significant deterioration.” Israeli forces have repeatedly denied permission for aid convoys to reach areas north of Wadi Gaza where people are at the highest risk of starvation.

In recent weeks, high ranking Israeli officials have begun calling for the deportation of Palestinian civilians out of Gaza. The forcible transfer within Gaza and deportation of a portion of the population across borders, lacking any guarantees of return, would constitute a serious violation of international law, amounting to an atrocity crime.

We demand an immediate ceasefire

We demand an immediate ceasefire and call on all states to halt the transfer of weapons that can be used to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The UN Security Council must fulfill its responsibility to maintain global peace and security by adopting measures to halt the transfer of weapons to the Government of Israel and Palestinian armed groups and prevent the supply of arms that risk being used in the commission of international crimes, effective immediately.

All states have the obligation to prevent atrocity crimes and promote adherence to norms that protect civilians. The international community is long overdue to live up to these commitments.

Editor’s Note
  • This statement was initially published on January 24, 2024, with the endorsement of 16 humanitarian organizations. Since its publishing, more than 250 civil society organizations around the world have endorsed the call. This statement has been updated to reflect figures that are accurate as of April 10, 2024, including the numbers of people killed, including children, aid workers, and health care workers, the number of those injured, and the latest figures in respect to food insecurity released by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.
  • Since the original statement was published on January 24, 2024, the following events have occurred:
    • On January  26, 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued provisional measures in the case of the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel).
    • On February 12, 2024, the Dutch Court ordered the government of Netherlands to stop supplying F35 fighter jet parts to Israel within seven days, due to the risk of serious violations of international humanitarian law.
    • On February 23, 2024, UN experts released a joint-statement stating that arms exports to Israel must stop immediately, stating, “The need for an arms embargo on Israel is heightened by the International Court of Justice’s ruling on 26 January 2024 that there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and the continuing serious harm to civilians since then.”
    • On March 25, 2024, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2728 demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan.
    • On March 28, 2024, the ICJ issued additional provisional measures alongside observations of the court that “famine is setting in.”
    • On April 5, 2024, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to “cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, the occupying Power…to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.”
    • The total number of aid workers killed includes staff members of UN agencies, NGOs, as well as the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Figures on the annual number of aid workers killed in other context can be found on the Aid Worker Security Database.
  1. Federation Handicap International – Humanity & Inclusion
  2. War Child Alliance
  3. Christian Aid
  4. Norwegian People’s Aid
  5. Médecins du Monde International Network
  6. Mennonite Central Committee
  7. medico international
  8. Oxfam
  9. Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
  10. Danish Refugee Council
  11. Save the Children
  12. Plan International
  13. Norwegian Refugee Council
  14. Diakonia
  15. Amnesty International
  16. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
  17. Welfare Association
  18. War on Want
  19. War Childhood Museum Foundation
  20. Palestinian Farmers Union
  21. WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
  22. United Nations Association – UK
  23. Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS)
  24. Human Rights Sentinel
  25. IM Swedish Development Partner
  26. Firefly International
  27. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
  28. Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) GE
  29. Nonviolent Peaceforce
  30. Peace Action
  31. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
  32. Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
  33. France Palestine Mental Health Network
  34. Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations
  35. Syrian Network for Human Rights.
  37. Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development
  38. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  39. Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC)
  40. The National Organization of Yemeni Reporters SADA
  41. L’Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP)
  42. Development and Peace – Caritas Canada
  43. EmpowerVan
  44. Train of Hope Dortmund e.V.
  45. Jewish Network for Palestine
  46. مدافعات للحقوق والحريات والتنمية
  47. PELDA
  48. Ina autra senda – Swiss Friends of Combatants for Peace
  49. Street Child UK
  50. Polish Medical Mission
  51. Peace SOS
  52. Gender Advisory Team, Cyprus
  53. Olof Palmes Internationella Center
  54. Cordaid
  55. Street Child España
  56. Share The World’s Resources
  57. Church and Peace – Ecumenical Peace Church Network in Europe
  58. ForcesWatch
  59. Vredesactie
  60. Terre des Hommes Netherlands
  61. Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
  62. Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  63. Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine
  64. PAX
  65. EuroMed Rights
  66. Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
  67. The Presbyterian Church in Canada
  68. The United Church of Canada
  69. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  70. CIUSSS Centre-Sud
  71. Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
  72. The Business Plan for Peace
  73. Secours Catholique – Caritas France
  74. Danish Muslim Aid
  75. Peace Direct
  76. Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine (BA4P)
  77. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – UK
  78. The Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security
  79. Creatura Think & Do Tank
  80. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – Germany
  81. Legal Action Worldwide (LAW)
  82. The Hague Peace Projects
  83. Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
  84. Nonviolence International
  85. Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
  86. The United Church of Canada
  87. Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
  88. The Anglican Church of Canada/L’Eglise anglican du Canada
  89. MADRE
  90. Ekō
  91. ReThinking Foreign Policy
  92. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Germany
  93. Initiatives et Changement (IofC France)
  94. WeWorld
  95. pax christi – Deutsche Sektion e.V.
  96. Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte
  97. Centre for Peace Research and Advocacy -CPRA
  98. Equal Legal Aid
  99. Young Christian Students Movement South Africa
  100. Laurentiuskonvent e.V.
  101. Socialist Movement of Ghana
  102. Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation
  103. Japan Fellowship of Reconciliation
  104. Action Corps
  105. EgyptWide for Human Rights
  106. Pax Christi International
  107. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) – Greece
  108. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  109. KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
  110. Committee of 100 in Finland
  111. Khulumani Support Group
  112. Amos Trust
  113. Sanad Basra Organization for Human Rights
  114. Association Pour Jérusalem (France)
  115. Community of Christ
  116. Avaaz
  117. Christian Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine
  118. Women Volunteers for Peace
  119. Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Societal Responsibility
  120. Salam For Yemen
  121. Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. (VDJ)
  122. Association France Palestine Solidarite Paris-Sud
  123. Culture de Palestine
  124. Emmaus International
  125. Kristna Fredsrörelsen / SweFOR
  126. Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
  127. Medical Association for Prevention of War
  128. HelpAge International
  129. Quakers in Scotland (General Meeting for Scotland)
  130. Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e. V.
  131. DAWN MENA
  132. Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)
  133. NVMP-Artsen voor vrede
  134. ActionAid France
  135. Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Societal Responsibility (FIfF) e.V.
  136. Pax Christi Scotland
  137. Shujaa-Initiative
  138. Pax Christi Italia
  139. Pax Christi – Perú
  140. Center for Jewish Nonviolence
  141. Peace Movement Aotearoa
  142. Center for Peace Education, Miriam College
  143. Pax Christi England and Wales
  144. Pax Christi Aotearoa NZ
  145. Pax Christi Miriam College
  146. Welfare Association
  147. Age International
  148. Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
  149. Arms Information Centre (RIB e.V.)
  150. Caritas International Belgium
  151. Medact
  152. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  153. Feminist Humanitarian Network
  154. Saferworld
  155. Mwatana for Human Rights
  156. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
  157. International Alert
  158. CIVICUS
  159. Internationaler Versöhnungsbund – Deutscher Zweig e.V.
  160. Pax Christi USA
  161. Caritas Internationalis
  162. The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
  163. Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine (BA4P)
  164. Humance Heal For Human Rights
  165. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  166. Min Haqi Foundation to Empower Women Politically and Economically
  167. Yoga and Sport with Refugees
  168. Caesar Families Association
  169. KinderUSA
  170. Ocalenie Foundation
  171. Aura Freedom International
  172. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
  173. Equal Legal Aid
  174. Street Child Italy
  175. Rebuilding Alliance
  176. Bildungsprojekt Sachsen im Klimawandel
  177. Diversity Matters North West Ltd
  178. Un Ponte Per
  179. Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
  180. Terre des Hommes Italy
  181. Middle East Children’s Alliance
  182. Mercy Corps
  183. Permanent Peace Movement
  184. Seenaryo
  185. Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal (WPD Nepal)
  186. France Palestine Mental Health Network
  187. Muslim Peace Fellowship
  189. Protection International (PI)
  190. Women’s Right to Education Programme
  191. Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative
  192. IANSA Women Network Nigeria
  193. Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition
  194. Mayworks Kjipuktuk/Halifax
  195. Tamkeen for Legal Aid & Human Rights
  196. Doctors Against Genocide
  197. The Rights Forum
  198. Women for Peace – Finland
  199. Business Plan for Peace
  200. Righting Relations Canada
  201. Foyer du Monde
  202. Bahrain Transparency
  203. Rete Italiana Pace Disarmo
  204. Nonviolence International
  205. FundiPau
  206. Control Arms
  207. Climate Refugees
  208. SOL Education Center
  209. Centre for Peace Research and Advocacy – CPRA
  210. Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos – México
  211. Daraj Media
  212. Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL)
  213. Mujeres para el Dialogo
  214. Pastoral Social, Iglesia Anglicana de México
  215. Asociación de familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México AFADEM-FEDEFAM
  216. Servicio Paz y Justicia (serpaj)-mexico
  217. Global Thought
  218. American Baptist Churches USA
  219. Sojourners
  220. Migrant Roots Media
  221. Citizens for Just Policy
  223. Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace (CAMYOSFOP)
  224. Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas
  225. Vision GRAM-International
  226. The United Church of Christ
  227. Caritas Middle East and North Africa
  228. Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient
  229. BDS Berlin
  230. SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations)
  231. Women in Black – Austria
  232. Collective Aid
  233. ReFOCUS Media Labs – Poland
  234. Fund for Global Human Rights
  235. Omega Research Foundation
  236. Women for Weapons Trade Transparency
  237. United Against Inhumanity (UAI)
  238. Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Palestine Israel Network
  239. Terre des Hommes International Federation
  240. CCFD-Terre Solidaire
  241. COCASEN – Coalición Nacional Contra el Abuso Sexual
  242. CARE International
  243. Fundación Ser de Paz AC
  244. Forum o Disarmament and Development of Sri Lanka
  245. FTSCD (Forum Togolais de la Société civile pour le Développement)
  246. Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  247. MPower Change Action Fund
  248. Steirische Friedensplattform
  249. Minnesota Peace Project
  250. Académicos con Palestina contra el genocidio – Mexico
  251. Fundación Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual – Mexico

Contact: [email protected]