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IRAP Calls for End to Siege of Gaza and Affirms the Right of Palestinians to Live in Safety and Dignity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

October 23, 2023


Spencer Tilger |


IRAP Stands in Solidarity with the 2.2 Million Palestinian Civilians At Risk of Death and Displacement

(New York, NY)  – In light of the escalation of violence taking place in Gaza, Israel, and surrounding regions, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) urges all parties to follow international law and protect the lives of civilians. As a refugee rights organization dedicated to ensuring everyone has a safe place to live and a safe way to get there, IRAP recognizes that decades of ongoing displacement have rendered the majority of Palestinians stateless and denied them the ability to live safely and freely. Given the urgency of the current crisis, we call for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the siege of Gaza, and the release of all hostages to prevent further loss of life and displacement. 

Through IRAP’s work with Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, we know firsthand the devastating impact of the Israeli dispossession of Palestinian lands, the need for safe resettlement pathways for Palestinian refugees who desire them, and for a just long-term political solution to end the ongoing violence and forced displacement. While IRAP has been working with embassies to accept referrals of Palestinians for humanitarian pathways, that doesn’t begin to address the dire need of most Palestinians to be able to live in safety and dignity.

That is why IRAP unequivocally opposes the siege of Gaza. The Israeli government’s order to evacuate 1.1 million Palestinians from north Gaza, accompanied by airstrikes and a planned ground invasion, is an escalation of violence that a United Nations human rights expert warns will amount to a “mass ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians if it continues. The majority of Gaza’s population of 2.2 million people are refugees and nearly half of them are children. Israel’s targeting of refugee camps and refugee populations is unacceptable, and full access to water, electricity, and international humanitarian aid must be restored. Collective punishment of civilians is a war crime under international law.

We are also deeply concerned by the steep rise of Islamophobia, antisemitism, and xenophobia in the United States and around the world. This hateful rhetoric stokes further division and violence and puts the civil liberties and lives of individuals and communities at risk, especially those who are already displaced and marginalized. Calls to deny Palestinians visas, ban Palestinian refugees, and silence pro-Palestinian voices echo the rampant xenophobia and Islamophobia that underpinned horrific and illegal U.S. government policies like the Muslim Ban

In this moment of deep loss and heartbreak, IRAP stands on the side of human rights and international law to call for immediate action to prevent further displacement and protect human life.

Additional Resources

  • View IRAP’s legal information page for Palestinian refugees: HERE

Addendum: IRAP unequivocally condemns the targeting of all civilians under any circumstances. We regret that our previous statement failed to specifically acknowledge and call out the attacks of Hamas on October 7, 2023, the killing of over 1,200 people and the taking of around 250 hostages. For this reason, we are amending our statement to state clearly: We mourn the loss of life of all civilians who died in the attacks and since – Israelis, Palestinians, and other nationalities – and call for the safe return of those who have been taken captive.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.