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Oxfam calls for Canadian leadership to support immediate Israel/Hezbollah ceasefire

May 10, 2010

Oxfam Canada and Oxfam Quebec are urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to use every possible diplomatic means to pressure Israel and Hezbollah to end the fighting immediately.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the agencies expressed concern that the government has yet to use its full influence to bring about an immediate ceasefire, a lasting end to the hostilities and full compliance with international humanitarian law.

"We understand and endorse the need for a comprehensive solution to the conflict," said Robert Fox, executive director, of Oxfam Canada. "But an immediate ceasefire will both save lives now – by allowing for the needed security to carry out humanitarian relief efforts – and will encourage negotiations to reach a final settlement."

In addition to calling for a ceasefire, Oxfam asked the PM to help prevent civilian suffering on all sides by advocating for a safe and continuous passage for humanitarian supplies. Food, water and medical supplies must not only be allowed to reach the ports. They must also be permitted to reach vulnerable communities by land or by air.

"We are doing our best to reach the hundreds of thousands of people who need urgent assistance," Fox said, "but destroyed roads and ongoing attacks present serious challenges to our efforts."

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