Today marks one month since Hamas launched its attack on civilians that triggered Israel’s declaration of an unprecedented war in the Gaza Strip, and a subsequent humanitarian catastrophe.
Since 7 October, some 1,400 Israeli civilians have been killed, 200 hostages taken, and thousands injured, according to the Israeli authorities. In Gaza, over 10,000 people have been killed, the vast majority of whom are women and children.
IPPF echoes international demands for an immediate and full ceasefire to prevent further atrocities. The continued bombing and rockets will make it virtually impossible to distribute any aid to civilians. In addition to the immediate need for fuel, water, food, and medicine for civilians in Gaza, the urgency of sexual and reproductive health care needs must not be overlooked.
Alvaro Bermejo, IPPF Director General said:
“Our colleagues in Gaza are currently sheltering for their lives, yet still delivering sexual and reproductive healthcare in any way they can amid appalling conditions. For 30 days, bombs have been falling across Gaza, leaving behind devastation and destruction unlike anything we have dealt with before as a Federation. In the absence of a full ceasefire, we are gravely concerned for the lives of our colleagues, civilians, and humanitarians who are desperately trying to deliver aid inside Gaza.”
Insufficient supplies, resources and equipment for sexual and reproductive health and rights were already a pressing issue in Gaza, which has been under Israeli occupation and blockade for decades. Since 7 October, thousands of Palestinian mothers and children have been killed, marking a recurring stifling of reproductive justice in the region. Pregnant women are miscarrying due to stress and shock, and the availability of medical facilities to birth safely is now virtually non-existent. Women and girls are reporting a severe lack of menstrual hygiene products and contraceptives, and a rise in cases of sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections with little to no medical treatment available.
Without a full and immediate ceasefire, we can expect to see this vicious cycle continue, with thousands more maternal and newborn deaths. On top of this, we will see a rise in unintended pregnancies, the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and a rise in psychological trauma and conflict-related sexual violence, all of which will have long-term, generational impacts.
We echo calls by the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee to establish a robust aid operation in a safe and peaceful context. Gaza needs a coordinated effort that meets the urgent needs of all its people, including the particular sexual and reproductive healthcare needs of women, girls and vulnerable groups.
There are no justifications for war crimes or grave violations of international humanitarian law, regardless of who commits them or against whom they are committed. We reaffirm that all people have the right to access emergency sexual and reproductive healthcare, no matter where, and no matter what.
IPPF calls for an immediate ceasefire to end the violence, deaths and suffering of civilians in Israel and Palestine. This ceasefire is an essential precursor towards a path to peace with justice.
For media enquiries, or to speak to our staff member in Palestine, please contact [email protected]
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Established in Jerusalem in 1964, the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) is locally registered as an independent, non-profit and non-governmental association with headquarters in Jerusalem. PFPPA has service delivery points located in the West Bank Areas of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and Halhoul, in addition to one in the Gaza Strip, which has yet to be relocated after it was destroyed following an Israeli airstrike on 8 October. Furthermore, and in cooperation with local partners, PFPPA is also responsible for 3 safe spaces to provide Gender Based Violence (GBV) related services in the Jerusalem area.
About the International Planned Parenthood Federation
IPPF, through its 149 Member Associations and collaborative partners, delivers high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helps advance sexual and reproductive rights, especially for marginalized people with diverse needs that are currently unmet. IPPF's Member Associations and partners are locally owned, independent organisations, which means the support and care they provide are informed by local expertise and context.
IPPF advocates for a world where people have the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and their bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive freedom. We deliver care rooted in rights, respect, and dignity for all - no matter what.