MSF: Canada must do everything in its power to bring about the immediate ceasefire it endorsed at the UN General Assembly

On December 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.

The resolution also reiterated the UNGA’s demand for all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, including the protection of civilians. The non-binding UNGA resolution follows the UN Security Council’s failure on December 8 to adopt a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, which was blocked by a veto from the United States.

Joe Belliveau, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Canada gave the following statement:

“After 66 days of Israel’s incessant and indiscriminate violence in Gaza, the majority of nations – including Canada – have finally voted in favour of an immediate and sustained ceasefire. Canada’s vote to support the non-binding UN General Assembly resolution is an important first step, but we cannot rest until the bombing and the siege end for the people of Gaza. We welcome Canada’s shift toward calling for an immediate ceasefire. We now urge Canada to do all it can to make it a reality.”  
For weeks, MSF and other humanitarian organizations have reinforced that an immediate and sustained ceasefire is the only solution to stop the violence and scale-up desperately needed humanitarian assistance. We called on the Canadian Government to urgently support an immediate ceasefire in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and a statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. Beyond the UNGA vote, Canada can and should further leverage its diplomatic power to bring about the immediate ceasefire. We reiterate that what is needed is an end to the indiscriminate violence and unimpeded humanitarian access to reach millions of people in need. Canada, which has supported international initiatives to protect healthcare in armed conflict, such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 2286, should leverage all its diplomatic tools to ensure that humanitarians, health workers, and patients are protected.   
A non-binding UNGA resolution will not on its own stop the indiscriminate and relentless attacks in Gaza. It will not stop assaults on hospitals and medical staff. It will not stop Israel’s restrictions on aid and its siege that continues to deprive 2.3 million people of food, water and medicine. Until the ceasefire demanded on paper at the UN is implemented, MSF will continue to call for an end to the ongoing horrors in Gaza.