Today, Canadian humanitarian organizations working in Gaza, join an alliance of 16 global humanitarian and human rights organizations calling on all States – including Canada – to immediately halt the direct or indirect transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel and Palestinian armed groups while there is a risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.
Israel’s current military campaign in Gaza is now considered to be amongst the deadliest and most destructive in recent history, according to experts. Humanitarian agencies, human rights groups, United Nations officials, and more than 153 member states have called for an immediate ceasefire for months, yet only a short reprieve took place in November.
Numerous world leaders have urged the Israeli government to reduce civilian casualties. Yet the Israel Defense Force continues firing explosive weapons and munitions in densely populated areas all throughout Gaza leading to more than 25,000 deaths and dire humanitarian consequences for the people of Gaza, who have nowhere safe to go.
Gaza’s remaining lifeline – an internationally-funded humanitarian aid response – has been paralyzed by the intensity of the hostilities. The shooting of aid convoys, the bombing of hospitals, recurrent communications blackouts, damaged roads, restrictions on essential supplies, an almost complete ban on commercial supplies, and a restricted bureaucratic process to send aid into Gaza – all have led to a grossly inadequate humanitarian response.
While Canada does not currently transfer arms to Palestinian armed groups, Canada’s transfer of arms to Israel amounted to CAD27 million in 2021, a record high since 1987. All UN member states, including Canada, have a legal responsibility to prevent atrocity crimes and ensure the protection of civilians and adherence to international humanitarian law.
Canadian Humanitarian Organizations demand an immediate ceasefire and call on Canada to halt the transfer of weapons as well as immediately suspend all arms export permits to Israel, while there is a risk such material be used to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including the parts transferred to the United States destined for Israel.
“Doctors of the World is urging Canada to align with its vote in favor of a ceasefire at the UN General Assembly. Doctors of the World emphasizes the critical need for intervention amidst the prolonged and devastating onslaught of heavy bombing and shelling over a 365 sq km region, home to 2.2 million people. With the ceasefire yet to materialize, an urgent plea is extended to Canada and other nations to swiftly halt all weapons transfers to the conflicting parties—a vital, life-saving measure in the face of this dire humanitarian crisis.” – Nadja Pollaert, Executive Director, Doctors of the World Canada
“Mennonite Central Committee Canada continues to be gravely concerned by the humanitarian catastrophe currently taking place in Gaza. We urge the Canadian government to do everything in their power, including the halt of arms transfers and arms permits to Israel, to work for an immediate ceasefire, increased humanitarian assistance, and the upholding of international law and human rights. As a humanitarian peacebuilding organization with decades of experience, including 75 years in Palestine and Israel, we know that violence will not bring security, nor a lasting peace. Now is the time for clear and committed leadership for a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel.” – Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee Canada
“For over 100 days now, airstrikes and ground military operations in Gaza have been killing an average of 250 Palestinians a day, which exceeds the daily death toll of any other major conflict of recent years. Over 25,000 tons of explosives have not only sacrificed over 25,000 lives and led to international law violations, they are also blocking the delivery of any meaningful, urgently needed humanitarian response. All governments exporting arms to the parties-involved have an obligation to stop fueling this violence and potential war crimes immediately. We must use all levers at this point to avoid complicity in these atrocities.” – Béatrice Vaugrante, Executive Director, Oxfam-Québec
‘’More than 10,000 children have lost their lives and survivors endure the unspeakable including life-altering injuries, burns, diseases, inadequate medical care, abduction, and the loss of loved ones. We urge the Canadian government to immediately halt arms transfers to both Israel and Palestinian armed groups. Despite the Canadian government supporting a ceasefire and the UN Security Council voting for improved humanitarian access, the situation in Gaza has worsened. Too many children in Gaza and Israel are facing grave violations to their rights and one grave violation is one too many.’’ – Danny Genwright, President and CEO, Save the Children Canada
“Humanity & Inclusion urges States, including Canada, to halt the transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel, Palestinian Armed Groups. The protection of innocent civilians, who have been the collateral damage in this conflict for over 100 days, is at stake. We urgently call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire to put an end to the violence in the Gaza Strip.” – Anne Delorme, Executive Director, Humanity & Inclusion Canada
“What we are seeing is a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza right now. Over 10,000 children have been killed by Israel’s bombardment on Gaza. We call on the Canadian government to follow through with its commitment to support a ceasefire including the halt of arms transfers and arms permits to Israel, to work for an immediate ceasefire, increased humanitarian assistance, and the upholding of international law.” – Usama Khan, CEO, Islamic Relief Canada
Doctors of the World Canada, Mennonite Central Committee Canada, Humanity & Inclusion Canada, Islamic Relief Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Oxfam Canada, Save the Children Canada
Oxfam Canada is calling on Canada to stop arms sales to Israel – learn more here.