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IFSW stands in full support of the recent statement by humanitarian leaders on the extreme peril facing civilians in Gaza. The escalation of violence following the attacks on 7 October has led to a preventable humanitarian crisis of unprecedented scale, with tens of thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, orphaned, killed, injured or permanently disabled, and more than three-quarters of the population displaced, facing life threatening shortages of food, water, sanitation, and healthcare.

The systematic degradation of the health system, the looming threat of famine, rampant diseases, and the decimation of basic infrastructure underscore the urgency of the ten requirements set forth by the humanitarian leaders to avoid an even worse catastrophe. These include an immediate ceasefire, protection of civilians and infrastructure, release of all hostages, reliable entry points for aid, security assurances for humanitarian operations, a functioning humanitarian notification system, clearance of explosive ordnance, stable communication networks, adequate resources for UNRWA, and a halt to campaigns discrediting the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.

We note, with deep concern, the ongoing destruction of cultural and educational institutions, with almost total destruction of schools, universities, religious sites, and other places of historical significance. As the war progresses to ever-deeper levels of depravity in Gaza, with the killing and abduction of humanitarian workers, including social workers, we express our solidarity with the people of Gaza, the people of Palestine, and with all others affected by war in the region, including our social work colleagues.

IFSW reiterates its existing statements since 2014 where we have consistently held a position of promoting peace and self-determination, with equal rights and freedoms for all people living in the region. We further reiterate our earlier call for the release of all hostages and all those being held against their will from both sides to set about the tasks of achieving a lasting peace, one which can allow the Palestinian people to build their independent state and realise their rights alongside those of a secure Israel.

IFSW stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine and particularly with our Social Work colleagues whose work has been decimated and paralysed as a result of the conflict. The increasing toll of death and injury among the population in Gaza, and the destruction of so much physical and social infrastructure is a clear testament of a crippled practice environment for social workers.

We view that the continued occupation of Palestine is the main barrier to finding sustainable peace solutions, as all people must be free from military threat and human rights violations. Social work values emphasise the centrality of the dignity and worth of all peoples and we recognise the many voices within Israel and Palestine are seeking to apply these values to find an end to this conflict. We look forward to a regional transformation and a future where Israelis and Palestinians will live as equals, a key demonstration of “Ubuntu”.

As social workers, we have a unique role in facilitating the building of trust between communities that have been embroiled in conflict. Our profession is founded on principles of social justice, human rights, and the intrinsic dignity of every individual. We stand ready to contribute to peace and reconciliation efforts in Palestine, Israel, and beyond, emphasising that sustainable peace requires a comprehensive and inclusive approach that addresses the needs and rights of all parties involved. We stand in support of humanitarian agencies committed to delivering aid against all odds. We recognise that while humanitarian aid is crucial, it cannot substitute for the fundamental rights to safety, security, and dignity. IFSW is committed to advocating for these rights and supporting efforts to provide immediate relief and work towards a lasting peace in the region.

IFSW Global. 

IFSW Supports Global Statement of Humanitarian Leaders Calling For An Immediate Ceasefire In Gaza – International Federation of Social Workers