London, 9 October 2023 - Over the past few days, we have watched in horror the escalating violence between Hamas and Israel, the loss of civilian lives and the targeting of health facilities.
In response, IPPF has released a media statement on behalf of the Federation and its Member Association directly impacted by the violence.
As in all conflict and humanitarian situations, sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice (SRHRJ) challenges will increase significantly in Palestine following the latest outbreak of violence and the targeting of health infrastructure. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights must be prioritized now in Palestine, especially for women, girls and the most vulnerable and marginalized groups among them, who have already been facing a protracted humanitarian crisis for decades.
IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, said:
"The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is deeply concerned about civilians caught up in the recent attacks, and we are devastated by the loss of civilian lives. At a time where human rights are increasingly under attack, we take our responsibility to preserve the enormous gains made in life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare in this region very seriously, especially for women, girls and marginalised populations, whose vulnerability and experiences are so often overlooked in humanitarian and conflict settings.
"Since its establishment in 1964, the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA), our local Member Association in Palestine has worked in the most difficult of circumstances to strengthen and protect the reproductive rights of people living in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“Our local teams are now contingency planning to address not only the needs of those trapped in Gaza amid escalating violence, but also the more than five million Palestinians currently living under Israeli occupation who will require critical support to continue accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare. We will work closely with partners and other NGOs to ensure the least possible disruption to services, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and security of our colleagues across the region.”
Ammal Awadallah, Executive Director of the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA), IPPF’s local Member Association in Palestine said:
“The current situation in Palestine is different than other situations of escalating hostilities. We have many staff that are afraid to come into work, and we had colleagues that were stuck at the border and unable to return home following IPPF meetings outside of the country. On 8 October, one of our critical service delivery points in Gaza was destroyed. While this building can be compensated, lives cannot.
PFPPA has been bravely providing services within this protracted humanitarian crisis setting for decades. This has made us stronger and increased our commitment to women and girls, but we are now facing a dire situation. Basic sexual and reproductive health care commodities, like condoms, are banned in Gaza. The total blockade of Gaza will only worsen the situation for millions of desperate people who are denied their most basic of human rights.
Palestinians are systematically denied sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights. Our health system has been repeatedly targeted and depleted by the Israeli occupation, and the more it disintegrates, the more it will hinder the full realization of these rights for women and girls.”
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About the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA)
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 to an adjacent building 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
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
For 70 years, IPPF, through its 150 Member Associations and collaborative partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organisations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context.
We advocate for a world where people have the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and 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 freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.