More than 30 humanitarian organisations have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his senior ministers urging Australia to intervene diplomatically to safeguard civilian lives in war-torn Gaza.
The Australian Council for International Development letter signed by organisations including Save the Children Australia, ActionAid and United Aid Abroad urges Australia to exert its influence to seek an urgent ceasefire between armed Palestinian groups and Israel.
“The Australian Government must use its voice and exert its influence to seek a ceasefire – an end to the rapidly escalating conflict – as a matter of urgency,” the letter sent to Mr Albanese, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong, Defence Minister Richard Marles and International Development Minister Pat Conroy says.
The organisations are calling for: the protection of civilians, negotiation for the safe release of hostages, humanitarian access, a ceasefire and renewed efforts towards a long-term diplomatic solution.
More than 4000 civilians have died in the bombing of Gaza in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of communities in southern Israel.
ACFID unequivocally condemns the abhorrent killing and kidnapping of civilians by armed Palestinian groups.
“We are deeply concerned at the ongoing violation of the human rights of citizens in Gaza and Israel, and breaches of International Humanitarian Law,” the letter says.
“We ask your government to be unceasing in your efforts to achieve unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance, a humanitarian corridor and protection of civilians. We call for a pause in the hostilities to allow for critical humanitarian work to save lives.”