More than 250 humanitarian and human rights organisations call to stop arms transfers to Israel, Palestinian armed groups

An open call to all UN Member States to stop fuelling the crisis in Gaza and avert further humanitarian catastrophe and loss of civilian life.

Palestinian girl in Gaza. Credits: AFP

We, the undersigned organisations, call on all States to immediately halt the transfer of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel and Palestinian armed groups while there is risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

Israel’s bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable. Today, the civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale.

Violations of international humanitarian law

Furthermore, Palestinian armed group-led attacks killed around 1,200 people and took hundreds of Israeli and foreign hostages, including children, and continue to hold more than 130 hostages captive inside Gaza. Armed groups in Gaza have continued to indiscriminately fire rockets toward population centres in Israel, disrupting school for children, displacing and threatening the lives and well being of civilians. Hostage-taking and indiscriminate attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and must end immediately.

Humanitarian agencies, human rights groups, United Nations officials, and more than 153 member states have called for an immediate ceasefire. However, Israel continues to use explosive weapons and munitions in densely populated areas with massive humanitarian consequences for the people of Gaza. World leaders have urged the Israeli government to reduce civilian casualties, yet Israeli military operations in Gaza continue to kill people at unprecedented levels, according to remarks by the UN Secretary-General. Member states have a legal responsibility to use all possible tools to leverage better protection of civilians and adherence to international humanitarian law. Gaza’s remaining lifeline – an internationally-funded humanitarian aid response – has been paralyzed by the intensity of the hostilities, which have included the shooting of aid convoys, recurrent communications blackouts, damaged roads, restrictions on essential supplies, an almost complete ban on commercial supplies, and a bureaucratic process to send aid into Gaza.

Destruction and civilian harm

Israel’s military activity has destroyed a substantial portion of Gaza’s homes, schools, hospitals, water infrastructure, shelters, and refugee camps; the indiscriminate nature of these bombings and a pattern of apparently disproportionate civilian harm they routinely cause is unacceptable. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned of the “heightened risk of atrocity crimes” being committed in Gaza and called on all states to prevent such crimes from unfolding. Since this call, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has only deteriorated further:

  • More than 33,000 Palestinians, at least 14,500 of them children, have been killed over the last six months, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Thousands more are buried under the rubble and presumed dead.
  • More than 75,000 people have been injured, many with life-changing injuries that will leave them with permanent disabilities; these include more than 1,000 Palestinian children who have lost one or more of their upper or lower limbs.
  • An unknown number of Palestinian civilians, reportedly including children, have been unlawfully detained, according to the UN, and must be released.
  • Palestinians continue to be killed nearly every day in areas the Israeli government told them to flee. In the first week of 2024, an Israeli airstrike killed 14 people – the majority children – near an area Israeli forces prescribed as a “humanitarian zone.”
  • Over 70% of Gaza’s population, around 1.7 million people, has been forcibly displaced. Many followed Israeli-issued orders to relocate south and are now being squeezed into tiny pockets of land that cannot sustain human life, which have become breeding ground for the spread of disease.

Children and families face starvation

  • Half of the population of Gaza – around 1.1 million Palestinians – are facing catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation, the highest number ever recorded by the technical humanitarian body responsible for making evidence-based assessments of food insecurity, with famine now imminent in northern Gaza. The entire population of the Gaza Strip – around 2.2 million people – are facing high levels of acute food insecurity. 
  • More than 70% of Gaza’s homes, much of its schools, and its water and sanitation infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged and left the population with almost no access to clean water.
  • Not a single medical facility in the enclave is fully operational and those partially functioning are overwhelmed with trauma cases and shortages of medical supplies and doctors. More than 489 health workers have been killed.
  • At least 243 aid workers* in Gaza have been killed, the highest of any conflict in this century.

Gaza today is the most dangerous place to be a child, a journalist, and an aid worker. Hospitals and schools should never become battlegrounds. These conditions have created a situation of utter desperation inside Gaza, leading top aid officials to declare that there are no longer the conditions for a meaningful humanitarian response in Gaza. This will not change until the siege, the bombardment and the fighting ends. In January, the United Nations described humanitarian access as a “significant deterioration.” Israeli forces have repeatedly denied permission for aid convoys to reach areas north of Wadi Gaza where people are at the highest risk of starvation.

In recent weeks, high ranking Israeli officials have begun calling for the deportation of Palestinian civilians out of Gaza. The forcible transfer within Gaza and deportation of a portion of the population across borders, lacking any guarantees of return, would constitute a serious violation of international law, amounting to an atrocity crime.

We demand an immediate ceasefire

We demand an immediate ceasefire and call on all states to halt the transfer of weapons that can be used to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The UN Security Council must fulfill its responsibility to maintain global peace and security by adopting measures to halt the transfer of weapons to the Government of Israel and Palestinian armed groups and prevent the supply of arms that risk being used in the commission of international crimes, effective immediately.

All states have the obligation to prevent atrocity crimes and promote adherence to norms that protect civilians. The international community is long overdue to live up to these commitments.

Editor’s Note

  • This statement was initially published on 24 January 2024, with the endorsement of 16 humanitarian organisations. Since its publishing, more than 250 civil society organisations around the world have endorsed the call. This statement has been updated to reflect figures that are accurate as of 10 April 2024, including the numbers of people killed, including children, aid workers, and health care workers, the number of those injured, and the latest figures in respect to food insecurity released by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification
  • Since the original statement was published on 24 January 2024, the following events have occurred:
    • On 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued provisional measures in the case of the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel).
    • On 12 February 2024, the Dutch Court ordered the government of Netherlands to stop supplying F35 fighter jet parts to Israel within seven days, due to the risk of serious violations of international humanitarian law. 
    • On 23 February 2024, UN experts released a joint-statement stating that arms exports to Israel must stop immediately, stating, “The need for an arms embargo on Israel is heightened by the International Court of Justice’s ruling on 26 January 2024 that there is a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and the continuing serious harm to civilians since then.” 
    • On 25 March 2024, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2728 demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan. 
    • On 28 March 2024, the ICJ issued additional provisional measures alongside observations of the court that “famine is setting in.”
    • On 5 April 2024, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to “cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, the occupying Power…to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.”
    • The total number of aid workers killed includes staff members of UN agencies, NGOs, as well as the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Figures on the annual number of aid workers killed in other context can be found on the Aid Worker Security Database.


    • 1 Federation Handicap International – Humanity & Inclusion 2 War Child Alliance 3 Christian Aid 4 Norwegian People’s Aid 5 Médecins du Monde International Network 6 Mennonite Central Committee 7 medico international 8 Oxfam 9 Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) 10 Danish Refugee Council 11 Save the Children 12 Plan International 13 Norwegian Refugee Council 14 Diakonia 15 Amnesty International 16 American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) 17 Welfare Association 18 War on Want 19 War Childhood Museum Foundation 20 Palestinian Farmers Union 21 WESPAC Foundation, Inc. 22 United Nations Association – UK 23 Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) 24 Human Rights Sentinel 25 IM Swedish Development Partner 26 Firefly International 27 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 28 Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) GE 29 Nonviolent Peaceforce 30 Peace Action 31 Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) 32 Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation 33 France Palestine Mental Health Network 34 Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations 35 Syrian Network for Human Rights. 36 INGO ALG CONSULTANT GROUP 37 Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development 38 Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect 39 Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC) 40 The National Organization of Yemeni Reporters SADA 41 L’Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP) 42 Development and Peace – Caritas Canada 43 EmpowerVan 44 Train of Hope Dortmund e.V. 45 Jewish Network for Palestine 46 مدافعات للحقوق والحريات والتنميه 47 PELDA 48 Ina autra senda – Swiss Friends of Combatants for Peace 49 Street Child UK 50 Polish Medical Mission 51 Peace SOS 52 Gender Advisory Team, Cyprus 53 Olof Palmes Internationella Center 54 Cordaid 55 Street Child España 56 Share The World’s Resources 57 Church and Peace – Ecumenical Peace Church Network in Europe 58 ForcesWatch 59 Vredesactie 60 Terre des Hommes Netherlands 61 Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights 62 Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 63 Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine 64 PAX 65 EuroMed Rights 66 Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) 67 The Presbyterian Church in Canada 68 The United Church of Canada 69 Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) 70 CIUSSS Centre-Sud 71 Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy 72 Business Plan for Peace 73 Secours Catholique – Caritas France 74 Danish Muslim Aid 75 Peace Direct 76 Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine (BA4P) 77 Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – UK 78 The Dallaire Institute for Children Peace and Security 79 Creatura Think & Do Tank 80 Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – Germany 81 Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) 82 The Hague Peace Projects 83 Anglican Pacifist Fellowship 84 Nonviolence International 85 Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund 86 Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion 87 The Anglican Church of Canada/L’Eglise anglican du Canada 88 MADRE 89 Ekō 90 ReThinking Foreign Policy 91 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Germany 92 Initiatives et Changement (IofC France) 93 WeWorld 94 Pax Christi – Deutsche Sektion e.V. 95 Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte 96 Centre for Peace Research and Advocacy -CPRA 97 Equal Legal Aid 98 Young Christian Students Movement South Africa 99 Laurentiuskonvent e.V. 100 Socialist Movement of Ghana 101 Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation 102 Japan Fellowship of Reconciliation 103 Action Corps 104 EgyptWide for Human Rights 105 Pax Christi International 106 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) – Greece 107 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada 108 KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives 109 Committee of 100 in Finland 110 Khulumani Support Group 111 Amos Trust 112 Sanad Basra Organization for Human Rights 113 Association Pour Jérusalem (France) 114 Community of Christ 115 Avaaz 116 Christian Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine 117 Women Volunteers for Peace 118 Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Societal Responsibility 119 Salam For Yemen 120 Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. (VDJ) 121 Association France Palestine Solidarite Paris-Sud 122 Culture de Palestine 123 Emmaus International 124 Kristna Fredsrörelsen / SweFOR 125 Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament 126 Medical Association for Prevention of War 127 HelpAge International 128 Quakers in Scotland (General Meeting for Scotland) 129 Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e. V. 130 DAWN MENA 131 Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) 132 NVMP-Artsen voor vrede 133 ActionAid France 134 Pax Christi Scotland 135 Shujaa-Initiative 136 Pax Christi Italia 137 Pax Christi – Perú 138 Center for Jewish Nonviolence 139 Peace Movement Aotearoa 140 Center for Peace Education, Miriam College 141 Pax Christi England and Wales 142 Pax Christi Aotearoa NZ 143 Pax Christi Miriam College 144 Age International 145 Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict 146 Arms Information Centre (RIB e.V.) 147 Caritas International Belgium 148 Medact 149 Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns 150 Feminist Humanitarian Network 151 Saferworld 152 Mwatana for Human Rights 153 The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation 154 International Alert 155 CIVICUS 156 Internationaler Versöhnungsbund – Deutscher Zweig e.V. 157 Pax Christi USA 158 Caritas Internationalis 159 The United Methodist Church — General Board of Church and Society 160 Humance Heal For Human Rights 161 International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) 162 Min Haqi Foundation to Empower Women Politically and Economically 163 Yoga and Sport with Refugees 164 Caesar Families Association 165 KinderUSA 166 Ocalenie Foundation 167 Aura Freedom International 168 Finnish-Arab Friendship Society 169 Street Child Italy 170 Rebuilding Alliance 171 Bildungsprojekt Sachsen im Klimawandel 172 Diversity Matters North West Ltd 173 Un Ponte Per 174 Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) 175 Terre des Hommes Italy 176 Middle East Children’s Alliance 177 Mercy Corps 178 Permanent Peace Movement 179 Seenaryo 180 Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal (WPD Nepal) 181 Muslim Peace Fellowship 182 UCOS vzw (UNIVERSITY CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION) 183 Protection International (PI) 184 Women’s Right to Education Programme 185 Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative 186 IANSA Women Network Nigeria 187 Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition 188 Mayworks Kjipuktuk/Halifax 189 Tamkeen for Legal Aid & Human Rights 190 Doctors Against Genocide 191 The Rights Forum 192 Women for Peace – Finland 193 Righting Relations Canada 194 Foyer du Monde 195 Bahrain Transparency 196 Rete Italiana Pace Disarmo 197 FundiPau 198 Control Arms 199 Climate Refugees 200 SOL Education Center 201 Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos – México 202 Daraj Media 203 Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) 204 Mujeres para el Dialogo 205 Pastoral Social, Iglesia Anglicana de México 206 Asociación de familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México AFADEM-FEDEFAM 207 Anti-Prison Feminist Project – Sisters in the Shade (Mexico) 208 Servicio Paz y Justicia (serpaj)-mexico 209 Global Thought 210 American Baptist Churches USA 211 Sojourners 212 Migrant Roots Media 213Citizens for Just Policy 214 PEOPLES FEDERATION FOR NATIONAL PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT (PEFENAP) 215 Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace (CAMYOSFOP) 216 Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas 217 Vision GRAM-International 218 The United Church of Christ 219 Caritas Middle East and North Africa 220 Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient 221 BDS Berlin 222 SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations) 223 Women in Black – Austria 224 Collective Aid 225 ReFOCUS Media Labs – Poland 226 Fund for Global Human Rights 227 Omega Research Foundation 228 Women for Weapons Trade Transparency 229 United Against Inhumanity (UAI) 230 Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Palestine Israel Network 231 Terre des Hommes International Federation 232 CCFD-Terre Solidaire 233 COCASEN – Coalición Nacional Contra el Abuso Sexual 234 CARE International 235 Fundación Ser de Paz AC 236 Forum o Disarmament and Development of Sri Lanka 237 FTSCD(Forum Togolais de la Société civile pour le Développement) 238 Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft 239 MPower Change Action Fund 240 Steirische Friedensplattform 241 Minnesota Peace Project 242 Académicos con Palestina contra el genocidio 243 International Rescue Committee 244 Fundación Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual 245 Broederlijk Delen 246 Coordinadora Galega de ONG para o Desenvolvemento 247. ARSIS Association for the Social Support of Youth 248. Churches for Middle East Peace 249. Educo – Spain 250. MENA Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (MENAPPAC) 251. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – Lebanon 252. Entraide et Fraternité – Belgium

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