MSF: Canada must show moral courage, turn words into action for a ceasefire in Gaza
Canada must help make immediate ceasefire a reality
On Dec. 12, Canada joined 153 nations and voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. Yet today – more than six weeks later – Israel’s relentless, indiscriminate strikes and siege on Gaza continue to unleash unfathomable levels of suffering on an entire population.
As Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams witness new horrors and this catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfold, we call on the Canadian government to turn its call for a ceasefire at the UNGA into real action for the nearly two million Palestinians still trapped in Gaza.
Over the past three months, Israel’s all-out assault on Gaza has drastically diminished the options for people to find medical care. Safe space for organizations like MSF to provide healthcare to people is now nearly non-existent. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 13 hospitals in Gaza are now partially functional, and the two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity while also rapidly running out of basic supplies.
New horrors continue to unfold
In the weeks since the majority of nations voted in favour of a ceasefire, MSF teams have directly witnessed new horrors unfold in this crisis. On Jan. 6, MSF teams were forced to evacuate the Al-Aqsa hospital in Gaza’s Middle Area after Israeli forces dropped flyers with evacuation orders across neighbourhoods near the hospital. Once again, medical staff were faced with an impossible and devastating ultimatum: be killed in an airstrike or leave patients behind who do not have the option to leave.
Meanwhile, half of the people displaced in southern Gaza face appalling conditions with inadequate shelter, food, water, medicine and other essentials. And on Jan. 9, another unimaginable loss for our Palestinian colleagues: the five-year-old daughter of an MSF staff member was killed after a shell, resembling that from a tank, broke through the wall of the building where over 100 MSF staff and their family members were seeking safety and shelter.
In MSF’s first open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, we asked the question: “How many more colleagues, health workers and civilians will we need to mourn before the international community takes action to protect them?” Since that letter was sent, three more MSF colleagues have been killed, more hospitals have been destroyed and countless civilians have lost their lives in the bloodshed.
This must all stop now.
Canada must help make immediate ceasefire a reality
Canada has repeatedly spoken in favour of a ceasefire, including through its UNGA vote and subsequent statements. The Canadian government must now turn those words in action.
This includes leveraging its influence as co-chair as Group of Friends of UN Security Council Resolution 2286 to push Israel to stop bombing hospitals, ambulances and other health infrastructure in Gaza. MSF and other organizations pleaded for Canada to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. It has now done so.
We now urge the Canadian government to have the moral courage to exert its full influence to make an immediate ceasefire a reality.
I call on the Canadian government to have the moral courage to exert its full influence to make an immediate #ceasefire a reality.
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