ICAN Australia calls for immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza
STATEMENT: ICAN Australia calls for immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza
November 2nd, 2023
ICAN Australia supports the urgent calls of the United Nations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and for the protection of civilians on all sides of this conflict. This war is not only a humanitarian catastrophe, but also has a nuclear dimension. Israel is known to possess around 90 nuclear weapons*, although it refuses to confirm or deny this.
The conflict has already expanded to involve Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and the United States, and other nations indirectly. Australia too has deployed military forces to the region, for purposes not publicly explained. Such expansion and escalation pose a real danger that nuclear weapons could be used.
The use of any nuclear weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law, precisely because of the inhumane and indiscriminate nature of such weapons. Adding to the growing humanitarian catastrophe already present in the region, the added danger of nuclear weapons use should alarm all Australians.
Australia’s abstention in the recent UN General Assembly vote for a ceasefire was deeply disappointing; several allies of the US voted in favour of this resolution on humanitarian grounds, and Australia should have done the same. We support an immediate ceasefire and call on our government to take a stronger stance on international humanitarian issues.
The very real dangers of escalation of this conflict and the potential for use of nuclear weapons highlights the need for the complete elimination of these inhumane and illegal weapons. Australia must join the 93 states which have already signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and increase its efforts to protect all civilians in the region.
*Federation of American Scientists 2023