ShipToGaza Norway

Pressemelding fra koalisjonsmøtet i Amsterdam 5.-7.3.11

Amsterdam, March the 7th 2011

PRESS STATEMENT

Freedom Flotilla 2 calls upon governments for protection of its citizens

Amsterdam - The organisations united in Freedom Flotilla 2 call upon their respective governments to take concrete action to ensure the safety of their citizens and prevent a repetition of last year’s lethal assault on their flotilla. On 31 May, 2010, the Israeli navy attacked a humanitarian sea convoy on its way to deliver solidarity and aid to the besieged people of the Gaza Strip, killing nine civilians. In May this year, a new flotilla will set sail to break and end the illegal blockade of Gaza. Organisers met in Amsterdam this past weekend to further their preparations.


Governments around the world condemned Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla in international waters. UN Human Rights Council investigators called the treatment of civilians aboard the ships brutal and disproportionate. "There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the fourth Geneva Convention: wilful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health," the UN Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission report determined.
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The International Committee of the Red Cross deemed the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip illegal because it constitutes collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The UN Fact Finding Mission report affirmed, “the blockade is unlawful and cannot be sustained in law (….) regardless of the grounds.” Governments are legally bound to uphold and act against violations of international law and human rights treaties. This includes not only the blockade of the Gaza Strip and ongoing violence against the civilian population there, but also the colonization of the West Bank, the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem, and the construction of the Separation Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Yet, the community of states is shamefully appeasing Israel’s crimes instead of acting to stop them.

“The humanitarian mission of the Freedom Flotilla 2 is a non-violent response to the deafening silence of our governments”, says Benji de Levie, spokesperson for the Dutch delegation. “Any attempt made – political or military- to obstruct or prevent the arrival of the Freedom Flotilla in the port of Gaza is an act in violation of international law and should be treated accordingly by our governments.” De Levie: “In the light of the current peaceful people-power protests in the Middle East, we expect our governments to be consistent in their foreign policy condemning all forms of human rights violations against peaceful civilian initiatives, regardless the perpetrator.”

Preparations in all regions involved (Europe, North America, North Africa, Asia, South-America and Australia) are going according to schedule. Approximately 15 ships carrying cargo and over a thousand freedom riders will set sail for Gaza in May. Among them will be journalists, politicians, humanitarian aid workers, artists, and human rights activists. The grassroots campaigns within the countries are growing steadily, which is reflected in large public events, such as the upcoming solidarity concerts and events.

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