Washington, D.C. – On Dec. 18, 2023, the Charity & Security Network (C&SN) reiterated its demand for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel, joining a global movement of activists as part of the #CeasefireNow campaign that calls for the Biden administration to protect innocent lives, uphold international humanitarian law (IHL), and ensure humanitarian aid reaches civilians in Gaza.

On Dec. 13, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, unconditional release of hostages, and guarantees for humanitarian access. Despite the ongoing UN-efforts, the conflict continues to put innocent lives at risk while impeding the ability of non-government organizations (NGOs) and other aid agencies to deliver life-saving services safely and securely to civilians in need. 

An immediate ceasefire is the only way to safely and effectively deliver unfettered life-saving humanitarian aid and medical supplies to innocent civilians in Gaza. C&SN previously signed on to a letter in October joining more than 500 organizations urging that a ceasefire be implemented. The Dec. 18 continuation of the #CeasefireNOW campaign is a reminder that urgent humanitarian access is still required.

The goal of the campaign is to mobilize 2.2 million people from around the world – the same number as the population of Palestinians living in Gaza – to sign the petition calling for world leaders, the UN Security Council, and actors on the ground to prevent further humanitarian catastrophe.

The statement is open for individual public sign-on at Change.org. The full list of signatories can be found here.

Below is the text of the letter:

#CeasefireNow: Open Call for an Immediate Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel to Prevent a Humanitarian Catastrophe and Further Loss of Innocent Lives

We have witnessed unfathomable death and destruction in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Thousands of people have been killed, injured, displaced, and nearly two hundred remain held hostage, including children and elderly.

In Gaza, the UN has said that water, food, fuel, medical supplies, and even body bags, are running out due to the siege. The UN warned that people – particularly young children – will soon start dying of severe dehydration. Neighborhoods have been destroyed and turned into complete rubble. Palestinians in search of safety have nowhere to go. Many of those who relocated from northern Gaza to the south after the relocation order by the Israeli army were reportedly bombed as they attempted to flee or once they arrived in southern Gaza.

The events of the last week have led us to the precipice of a humanitarian catastrophe and the world can no longer wait to act. It is our collective responsibility.

On Sunday, October 15th, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator to the Occupied Palestinian Territory appealed to all parties to the conflict, and to Member States with influence, to urgently agree to a humanitarian ceasefire.

Today, we put our voices together and call on all Heads of State, the UN Security Council, and actors on the ground, to prioritize the preservation of human life above all else. During this ceasefire, we call on all parties to unconditionally:

  1. Facilitate the delivery of lifesaving assistance, including food, medical supplies, fuel, and the resumption of electricity and internet to Gaza, in addition to safe passage of humanitarian and medical staff.
  2. Free all civilian hostages, especially children and elderly.
  3. Allow humanitarian convoys to reach UN facilities, schools, hospitals, and health facilities in northern Gaza and commit to protecting them along with the civilians and staff inside them at all times.
  4. Rescind orders by the Government of Israel for civilians to depart northern Gaza.
  5. Allow patients in critical condition to be medically evacuated for urgent care.

The UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General and all world leaders with influence must take immediate action to ensure a ceasefire comes into effect. It remains our only option to avert further loss of civilian life and humanitarian catastrophe. Anything less will forever be a stain on our collective conscience.

Civilians are not bargaining chips. Families need a chance to bury and mourn their dead. The cycle of violence against innocent civilians needs to stop.