Saturday, March 23, 2024

Reacting to the European Council’s decision to call for a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, Amnesty International’s Head of the European Institutions Office, Eve Geddie said: 

“Yesterday’s call for a ceasefire is long overdue, but is an insufficient step given the horrors that Palestinian civilians have been enduring over the past six months. More than 32,000 people have been killed in Israel’s ruthless and indiscriminate military campaign; over a thousand children have become amputees; entire neighbourhoods and towns have been reduced to debris; the healthcare system has been almost entirely destroyed; and an imminent, Israeli-engineered famine is now looming…all of this could have been avoided and prevented had a ceasefire by all parties been reached earlier. What is happening in Gaza is a man-made humanitarian catastrophe and those responsible for all the crimes under international law must be held accountable.

“Hamas and other armed groups must be held accountable for war crimes they committed on 7 October, including hostage-taking, and for the ongoing unlawful rocket attacks, but calls for accountability must be consistent and responsibility cannot be obscured. The European Council’s failure in attributing responsibility to Israel for its gross violations of international law is sending a message of impunity and contributing to the catastrophe in Gaza. The dire situation has been partly exacerbated by some member states discrediting and cutting off vital lifesaving aid to UNRWA and leaving people trapped without access to food or clean water while being shelled and bombarded by arms and ammunition exported by some EU member states to Israel.

“The European Union and member states must take concrete measures and tangible steps to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. They must fully reinstate funding for UNRWA and cease all export of arms and ammunitions to Israel. A full review of Israel’s respect of its human rights obligations must be conducted. They must also recognize the root causes of the conflict, and call for an end to Israeli apartheid against Palestinians and an end to the occupation.”


This is the first time since the conflict began in October that the EU has made a call for a ceasefire.

The European Council also raised concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and its disproportionate effect on civilians, particularly children, as well as the imminent risk of famine and called for opening more land routes to Gaza. In addition, it warned against the Israeli invasion of Rafah and stressed the important role of the UNRWA in the region. Finally, it stressed the importance of respecting and implementing the 26 January 2024 order of the International Court of Justice and called for accountability for violations of international law.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Amnesty International has called for the release of all civilian hostages held by Hamas and other armed groups and for the release of Palestinian detainees arbitrarily held by Israeli authorities.

The organization’s petition demanding a ceasefire to end civilian suffering has been signed by more than one million people.

Tags: EU, Human Rights, Freedom of expression.