Statement calling to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of civilians in Gaza

As a feminist organisation advocating for the health, wellbeing and safety of migrant and refugee women and their communities, we are deeply troubled by the situation that is unfolding in Palestine. We affirm our commitment to safeguarding women’s lives and believe that everyone has the right to live free from violence. We mourn all lives lost, and the suffering sustained by all victims of violence, and we extend our deepest sympathies to communities in Australia whose loved ones have been affected.

All forms of bigotry including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism must be condemned. We extend our support to all refugees and migrants in Australia who have been scapegoated and subjected to targeted and discriminatory actions.

As a migrant and refugee run organisation, we come from communities that have been impacted by colonisation, genocide and displacement. The resulting traumas can be tremendous, ongoing and generational. The mental and physical impacts of such experiences can be exacerbated by systemic racism and discrimination at both the interpersonal and institutional levels. We recognise the harms inflicted on First Nations and Indigenous communities by ongoing colonial violence globally, and we extend our unwavering support, and stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and their struggle towards decolonisation.

The attacks on Palestinians by the Israeli government are devastating. In 4 weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 10,000 Palestinians. Nearly 70 per cent of those reported killed in Gaza are women and children. The number of displaced people continues to grow, so far reaching 1.5 million people. Such attacks against innocent civilians must always be condemned, and hospitals, schools, and refugee camps must never be targets of warfare.

We are horrified to hear reports of the total collapse of Palestine’s health infrastructure which is necessary to deliver essential and lifesaving healthcare to millions of Palestinian families. We know that women and children are disproportionately impacted by war and violence. Approximately 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, 5,500 of whom are due to give birth within the next month have been denied access to essential and lifesaving care.

Scholars, human rights activists and lawyers agree that what is occurring in Palestine is nothing short of a genocide. We call on the Australian government to clearly condemn these violations of international law and urge them to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Millions of lives hang in the balance and Australia must take the necessary action to prevent further death and suffering.