Gaza: Statement by HRVP Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on the humanitarian situation and access constraints

Human Rights

The crisis in Gaza has reached another breaking point. The delivery of any meaningful humanitarian assistance inside Gaza has become almost impossible and the very fabric of civil society is unravelling. Starving civilians are resorting to desperate measures to access the limited aid that trickles in. 

Due to the ongoing military operations and the collapse of law and order in Gaza, our partners are forced to operate in an unacceptably unsafe environment. The announcement of temporary ‘tactical pauses’ for delivering humanitarian assistance has not resulted in any improvement in the security environment for humanitarian actors on the ground.

The latest updates from humanitarian organisations attempting to deliver essential aid are highly concerning. Operations are at risk of breaking down if no action is taken. 

Once again, we call on all the parties involved in the conflict to uphold their international legal responsibilities: protect civilians, ensure their access to basic services, provide a safe environment for humanitarian operations and grant unimpeded humanitarian access. We also call for an immediate and unconditional release of the hostages.

Despite these obligations, humanitarian aid is piling up at the borders of Egypt and Jordan, including substantial EU-funded assistance. Some of these aid supplies, such as food items, are perishable and at risk going to waste.

This is a significant blow to our humanitarian efforts and those of the whole international community, in addition to being a material and financial loss of EU funds.

Since last October we have organised 56 humanitarian air bridge flights for Gaza, with the most recent one completed last week. We have used every available route for aid delivery.  

Sending aid without access to and within Gaza is futile. We call for an immediate ceasefire, unconditional release of hostages, the protection of civilians including humanitarian workers and concerted action to facilitate the delivery of life-saving assistance to the population of Gaza.

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