Day of action: hunger strike for Gaza

Cross-Canada hunger strike calls on the Canadian government to take immediate action on risk of genocide in Gaza

Today marks one month since the International Court of Justice order requiring Israel to take ”all measures within its power” to prevent genocide in Gaza and report back within a month with evidence of the actions taken.

Sunday, February 25, 2024 (Ottawa) — The urgent need for essential goods to enter the besieged Gaza Strip cannot be stressed enough. The use of starvation as a “weapon of war” is unacceptable, as are the continued attacks on civilian targets, including hospitals. As long as bombs keep falling, a humanitarian response is impossible. Yet, Canada has authorized the sale of almost $30M worth of weapons and parts to Israel since October 7, 2023 — more than in any year for the past 30 years.

People across Canada are participating today in a hunger strike; a national day of action organized by Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Islamic Relief Canada in partnership with Gaza Starving aimed at calling on Canada to stop selling arms to Israel. The day of action coincides with the one-month anniversary of the International Court of Justice order requiring Israel to take “all measures within its power” to prevent genocide in Gaza and report back within a month with evidence of the actions taken. So far, we have not witnessed any progress in providing unimpeded and safe access to humanitarian aid. 

The hunger strike participants, which include Members of Parliament, are gravely concerned about the escalating humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza as civilians, and civilian infrastructure, continue to be targeted and aid agencies are obstructed in their efforts to deliver urgent necessities like food, water and medicines. With the news of an imminent invasion of Rafah – a tiny slither of land now housing 1.7M Palestinians desperately looking for shelter – action is urgent. 

Participants are collectively calling on the Canadian government to stop selling arms to Israel and use their power to call for a lasting ceasefire. Participants are posting their participation online supporting the letter sent to Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Melanie Joly. Canada has a legal obligation under the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure Canadian-made arms and parts are not used for violations of international law and war crimes.

“On the global day of action, we stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and call for an immediate end to the bombings and violence that continues to devastate the region,” said Mwangala Matakala, Campaigner, Oxfam Canada. “It is imperative that Canada takes a principled stance to uphold human rights and promote peace in the Middle East, and that starts with stopping the sales of arms to Israel.”

“Going on hunger strike is not among our ordinary means of action. But the gravity of hunger and other deprivations in Gaza is extraordinary. Canada cannot credibly uphold international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians while supplying military goods to armed forces that have destroyed 60% of civilian infrastructure in Gaza. As other third states, Canada has the means to help stop fueling the cycle of violence,” said Céline Füri, Humanitarian Lead, Oxfam-Québec. 

"Today, by participating in this national hunger strike, we are refraining from eating for one day to stand in solidarity with millions of Palestinians in Gaza who are on the brink of starvation and suffering constant bombardment," said Miranda Gallo, Government Relations Manager, Islamic Relief Canada. "The unprecedented severity of this crisis requires unprecedented action. The Canadian government must do more than call for a ceasefire, it must also hold Israel accountable for its actions and stop fueling the ongoing escalation of violence and growing humanitarian catastrophe in the region."
Media contacts:
  • Vita Sgardello, manager of communications, Oxfam Canada, [email protected], 613-799-0234

  • Khoudia Ndiaye, director of communications and public engagement, Oxfam-Québec, [email protected], 514-606-4663

  • Reyhana Patel, director of communications and government relations, Islamic Relief, [email protected], 647-200-4662

About Oxfam Canada

Oxfam Canada is an affiliate of the international Oxfam Confederation networked in 87 countries as part of a global movement for change. Our mission is to build lasting solutions to poverty and injustice, focusing on improving lives and promoting the rights of women and girls.

About Oxfam Quebec

Oxfam-Quebec is a non-profit and a non-partisan international solidarity organization. It is a member of the Oxfam Confederation, a movement that unites millions of people for a just and sustainable world. Together, we fight against inequalities to end poverty and injustice, now and for the long term.

About Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief Canada is a registered charity in Canada and a leading Muslim NGO that works in more than 30 countries to provide humanitarian relief and build resilient, prosperous communities. Visit for more information.