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Conflict in Gaza

MSF President calls on UN member states to take urgent action in Gaza

War in Gaza:: find out how we're responding
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It has been two weeks since Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) addressed the UN Security Council. As a father, medic, humanitarian but mostly as a human being, I am appalled by the continued and complete disregard for life we are witnessing in Gaza.

After working as a surgeon in low-resource settings in emergencies around the world, I thought nothing could shock me. But the horror medical staff and their patients have endured in places like Al-Shifa and Al-Awda hospitals will stay with me. Surgeries have been conducted without painkillers and one of our surgeons Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila was killed in an air strike after writing on the surgery whiteboard: “Whoever stands until the end, will tell the story. We did what we could.”

When I visited some of our staff in Palestine a few months ago, they were already mentally and physically exhausted. Now, I fear they are at breaking point.

As a father, medic, humanitarian but mostly as a human being, I am appalled by the continued and complete disregard for life we are witnessing in Gaza. Dr Christos Christou, MSF International President

Here are the calls-to-action we have put to UN member states, and why these urgent actions are needed now more than ever:

  • Demand for immediate ceasefire: MSF Secretary General Chris Lockyear urged the UN Security Council to demand an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Palestine to protect civilian lives. 

    Because: Anything short of a sustained ceasefire will do little to prevent the mass atrocities and unbearable suffering people are facing in Gaza. But a “temporary period of calm” or any other watered-down proposal by member states tacitly endorses the extreme violence we are seeing on the ground.
     
  • Protection of medical facilities, staff, and patients: we called for unequivocal protection for medical facilities, staff, and patients in Gaza to ensure their safety.

    Because: Even war has rules. Hospitals and medical professionals should never be a target. Yet there is no functioning medical system in Gaza, and we see no accountability for the numerous attacks on healthcare facilities happening on a daily basis. So far five MSF colleagues have been killed, numerous injured, and countless have lost their homes and loved ones.
When I visited some of our staff in Palestine a few months ago, they were already mentally and physically exhausted. Now, I fear they are at breaking point. Dr Christos Christou, MSF International President
  • Urgent humanitarian response: we emphasised the urgent need for a meaningful humanitarian response in Gaza, highlighting the dire shortage of essential supplies, medicine, and medical care.

    Because: The barriers currently in place, preventing meaningful aid from entering Gaza and reaching those who need it, have been devastating. Our staff tell us they do not have enough food to eat. It is unbelievably cruel that, due to aid blocks, families are left with only scraps to survive. They also report the lack of water and its overall poor quality, leading to life-threatening diseases.
     
  • Rejection of inadequate resolutions: We urged the Council to reject any resolution that would hinder humanitarian efforts on the ground or endorse continued violence in Gaza, emphasising the need for genuine ceasefire measures without delay.

    Because: half-measures are not going to save lives. More than 1.5 million people are trapped in Rafah. Collective punishment must end.
     
  • Collective responsibility and adherence to international law: we stressed the collective responsibility of the UN Security Council and its members to uphold international humanitarian law.

    Because: without this, the complete indifference to humanitarian laws and principles we are seeing in Gaza without any accountability makes our world a terrifying place, where violence is uncontested, and civilians unprotected. The ramifications for generations to come across the world are enormous. We have a collective responsibility not to let this become the new normal.
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