Urgent Call to Declare Gaza a Famine-Stricken Area

We the undersigned Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions, considering the ongoing genocide in Gaza for more than seven months, the people of Gaza are suffering from severe food shortages, a continuous decline in nutrition levels, widespread malnutrition among children, and increased mortality rates due to diseases caused by hunger and malnutrition, along with the difficulty of accessing medical and healthcare services. Additionally, the environmental pollution resulting from the destruction of sewage systems, the inability of municipalities to remove waste, the presence of thousands of bodies under the rubble, and the weak humanitarian response and provision of necessary aid to those in need.

The destruction of infrastructure and the fuel shortage have led to a significant halt in sanitation and waste disposal services, resulting in the spread of waste and sewage without proper disposal methods. With rising temperatures, the spread of diseases and epidemics has become a reality among Palestinians in the sector. Furthermore, the Civil Defense in Gaza suffers from a severe lack of resources, equipment, and personnel, preventing them from clearing rubble and retrieving bodies.

According to international humanitarian law and international human rights law, causing famine as a military tactic against civilians is prohibited. Article 54 of the First Additional Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977 affirms the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, prohibiting the attack, destruction, removal, or rendering useless of such objects, including foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops, livestock, drinking water installations, and irrigation works if the purpose is to starve civilians or to force them to move or for any other motive.

Similarly, Article 14 of the Second Additional Protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1977 prohibits the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and prohibits attacks on, destruction of, removal of, or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.

Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that any act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group as such, constitutes genocide. Furthermore, Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, and obliges states to take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.

The act of causing famine and destroying life-sustaining resources in Gaza also violates the interim measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, thus opening the possibility for prosecuting those responsible or delaying the delivery of aid before the International Criminal Court. The actions and policies imposed by the Israeli occupation on the people of Gaza place it in a position of criminal responsibility due to its actions that have created conditions such as direct attacks on vital installations or imposing a blockade to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the population.

The Famine Review Committee in its March 2024 report concluded that famine is likely unless there is an immediate cessation of hostilities, unrestricted access to food, water, and medicines, protection of civilians, and restoration of health services, clean water, sanitation, energy, and electricity for the population. Since March, hostilities against civilians have continued, and despite the arrival of some relief aid to northern provinces, it remains insufficient to deal with ongoing hunger.

We, the undersigned, call on the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to immediately declare Gaza a famine-stricken area due to famine, environmental pollution, and the spread of diseases. The United Nations and the Palestinian Authority must adopt this declaration and coordinate global and local efforts in partnership with Palestinian civil society to develop an immediate plan to address these impacts, elevate emergency relief levels for citizens in the sector, and push toward accountability and prosecution of the occupation for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We call on all organizations, movements, human rights defenders, and supporters to sign this petition to urge the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to declare Gaza a famine-stricken area and take the necessary measures to protect its inhabitants.

Long live the struggles of the Palestinian people! Long live a free and proud Gaza!

Ramallah, May 23, 2024

Signatory Palestinian Organizations and Movements:

Palestinian NGO’s Network (PNGO)

Civil Action Coordination Council

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council

Medical Association – Jerusalem Center

Engineers Association – Jerusalem Center

Palestinian Journalists Syndicate

Veterinarians Syndicate

Agricultural Engineers Association

Palestinian Bar Association

Palestinian Dental Association

Palestinian Education Coalition

Bisan Center for Research and Development

Palestinian Agricultural Relief Coalition (PARC)

Addameer prisoner support and human rights association

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH

Land Research Centre

Al-Haq

Union of Agricultural Work Committees

The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development

The Palestinian Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)

Maan Development Center

Applied Research Institute – Arij

Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of torture

The Palestinian Center for Independence of Lawyers and Jury- Musawah

Burj Laqlaq

Teacher Creativity Center Association

Defense for Children International- Palestine

Yafa Cultural Center

Economic & Social Development Center of Palestine

Palestinian Medical Relief Society

Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights (Hurryyat)

Afkar for Educational and Cultural Development

Health Work Committees

Association of Women’s Committees for Social Work

Psychosocial- social Counseling Center for Women

The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling

Women’s Studies Center

Qader for Community Development

Palestinian Popular Resistance

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

The Civic Commission for Independence of Jury

The National Association for Rehabilitation

Gaza program for Psychological health

The Association of Union of Palestinian Womens Committees

Womens Affairs Center

Al-Najdah Social Association

Haider Abd Alhsafi Center for Culture and Development

Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform

Community Development and Media Center

Palestinian Counseling Center

Disabilities Representative Persons Network

Center for Womens Legal Research and Consulting

Altaghreed Association for Culture and Development

Abd Shafi Association for Health and Society

Tadamon Charity Association

Palestinian Hydrology Group

AlAhli Association for Development of Dates and Palm

Palestinian Center of Organic Agriculture

Ma’an Development Center/Gaza

The Culture and Free Thought Association

Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association

The Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development

Al-Foukhary Association For Development and Culture

Al Sattar Garbee Association for Developing Countryside and Farmer

The Society of Women Graduates in Gaza Strip

Central Blood Bank Society

Gaza Culture & Development Group

Palestinian Commission for Mental Health

Ertigaa Association for Community Development

Tulkarm Cooperative Society for Handicrafts

International Commission to support Palestinian People’s Rights

Palestinian Al-Nakheel Association for progress and development

The Society for Care of the Handicapped

Women’s Action Association for the Rehabilitation of Women and Children

Hanan for Culture and Social Development Association

Arab Agronomists Association

Al Ferdaus Association for Woman and Child Development

The Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions

Baitona For Community Development

Mashareq Charity Association for Development and Improvement

Science and Cultural Center

Agricultural Development Association

Filastiniyat

Mothers School Association

Palestinian Society for People with visual disability

Najda Society

International Coalitions and Organizations:

The Peasants Movement, La Via Campesina

People’s Health Movement

Viva Salud Organization

Sheffield Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Jordanian coalition for education

The Arab Community Movement for Teaching and Learning

Sheffield Palestine Cultural Exchange

GRAIN

Naripokkho

Student Government Food Security Agency at UT Austin

Sheffield Jews Against Israeli Apartheid

Marcha Mundial de las mujeres, Región Americas

International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India)

World March of Women

The Groundwork Movement

Tierra Nativa

Alliance pour le Déménagement Durable et pour l’Environnement (ADDE)

Stoke Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Khulumani Support Group

TU Delft 4 Palestine

Confédération paysanne

European Coordination Via Campesina

Food Sovereignty and Climate Justice Forum/ANPFa

FIAN International

CoopERA

Attac Italia

Encuentro de Sanadoras y Sanadores Colombia

Corporate Accountability

Mexicanos Unidos

UNITERRE

Tatawelo Italia

Digo Bikas Institute

Comité Cerezo México

Solidarité Sherbrooke

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Australia Solidarity with Latin America

Jewish Network for Palestine

Salaam Children of Olive Tree – Milan Committee

Plant-based Health Justice

Chicago ALBA Solidarity

La Casa de Todas y Todos

Veterans For Peace-Chapter 113-Honolulu

Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition

Alkamandjati association

Reforest The Earth UK

Cittadino

Greenham Women

Peace Fresno

National Lawyers Guild, Loyola University Chicago Chapter

National Lawyers Guild-SF Bay Area chapter/NLG Task Force on the Americas