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05 Jun 2024


An immediate ceasefire and reopening of border crossings vital to preserve life in Gaza  

As the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and specifically Rafah, reaches a crisis point, SSI reiterates our call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and urgent re-establishment of safe border crossings to enable civilians with visas to reach safety.  

Over more than 240 days of conflict, the people of Gaza have continued to endure increasingly horrific and dangerous conditions. More than 100,000 Gazan individuals and families have been internally displaced multiple times before seeking safety in Rafah, formerly designated a ‘safe zone.’   

Military maneuvers into the densely crowded refugee camp have forced already desperate Gazans to flee once again to an ill-equipped “expanded humanitarian area” in Al-Mawasi. This area lacks adequate shelter, food, water, and sewage infrastructure, putting more lives at risk. 

The right of civilians to seek safety from war is supported by a robust framework of international law and humanitarian principles. These mechanisms are designed to protect civilians from the dangers of armed conflicts and ensure their rights to life, security, and dignity. 

We call on all relevant authorities to ensure the delivery of essential aid and protect the lives and dignity of internally displaced Gazans trapped in this dire situation. The international community must act now to prevent further loss of life and alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza. 

Furthermore, it is vital that the Gazan border with Egypt, which was seized by Israel, is immediately reopened to enable Gazan’s with international visas to escape the conflict and for Australian visa holders to reunite safely with their families in Australia. 

Since October 2023, 2273 temporary visas have been granted by the Australian Government for Palestinians. Yet, due to border closures and limitations on movement only approximately 1,000 Gazans have been able to exit the occupied territory and come to Australia. 

Australia has a longstanding track record of being a global leader in international resettlement efforts. To maintain our nation’s reputation on the global stage, government representatives must do everything within their power to push for Australian visa holders’ safe passage out of Gaza.  

SSI, alongside diaspora and community groups, are poised to do all we can to support Gazans as they seek safety in Australia and are actively collaborating to develop settlement solutions. 

The past eight months have been a deeply disturbing and traumatizing period for so many in our community. SSI stands in solidarity with diaspora communities who are grieving during this deeply challenging time. If you or someone you know needs support, please don’t hesitate to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.  

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