October 13, 2023: Burlington, Ontario — Islamic Relief Canada is horrified by the unprecedented escalation of violence in the Middle East over the past week. With the humanitarian crisis spiraling out of control, it is absolutely critical that aid is allowed to reach all civilians in need. It is for this reason that today, Islamic Relief Canada launches “Access to Aid,” a national campaign urging the Canadian government to call for an immediate humanitarian corridor to be established in Gaza.
Islamic Relief strongly condemns the appalling violence against civilians in Gaza and Israel in recent days, and is calling for an immediate ceasefire. We are gravely concerned by the escalating humanitarian crisis that is causing widespread suffering among civilians – especially women and children.
Gaza especially is facing catastrophic humanitarian consequences, as the crippling and total blockade means civilians are without access to food, medicine, fuel and aid. No aid is currently being allowed into Gaza. UN experts have described this worsening situation as “collective punishment,” and have condemned "the withholding of essential supplies such as food, water, electricity and medicines.”
As the situation continues to deteriorate, we join the UN, WFP, and Norwegian Refugee Council in calling upon our Canadian government to urge all parties to create a humanitarian corridor, in order for life-saving humanitarian aid to reach civilians without delay.
Canada has a duty to uphold international humanitarian law and must not turn its back on vulnerable civilians. Under no circumstance should the provision of humanitarian goods and assistance be politicized. Respect for international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles is critical to ensure unhindered, unimpeded, safe access to all areas and to all civilians who are in need of aid and assistance.
The “Access to Aid” seeks to garner support from Canadians from coast to coast to demand the Canadian government take action to support the creation of a humanitarian corridor that will protect the space for neutral and humanitarian assistance. The campaign’s hope is to demonstrate the widespread support among Canadians for the enforcement of humanitarian principles, and to mount additional public pressure on elected officials for the government to act in accordance with international law in protecting vulnerable civilians.