UN Humanitarian report from Gaza 4/1/08

The latest information on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza can be downloaded from the UN Office of Coordination of Human Afairs.

The situation is extremely bleak – Israel, with the unrelenting support of its accomplice, the US Bush administration, continues to violate human rights and Geneva Conventions. A hospital ambulance has been shelled and food distribution has been stopped except in southern Gaza. Hospital generators are about to collapse.

Some quotes from the 4th January report:

“Israeli forces are now deployed in several areas of the Gaza Strip with clashes taking place between Israeli forces and militants. Damage and destruction of roads, infrastructure and buildings has been reported, including to a large gas storage facility. The military incursion compounds the humanitarian crisis following more than a week of shelling and an 18-month long blockade of the territory. There is an increased threat to civilians due to combat in densely populated urban areas. Hospitals continue to be overstretched because of the large number of casualties that have accumulated since the beginning of Israeli attacks, and ambulances and medical personnel face dificulties in accessing casualties. Electricity and telecommunications are down over much of the Strip.

Food distributions have been suspended and all crossing points remain closed.”

This morning, an ambulance of Al Awda hospital in the north was shelled, seriously injuring 4 medical staff. Palestine Square in central Gaza City was also hit, reportedly killing 5 civilians and injuring another 40 persons. Prior to the ground incursion, 15 Palestinians were killed and more than 25 injured when the Israeli Air Force bombarded the Ibrahim Al Makadima Mosque in Beit Lahiya.

There is an almost total blackout in the governorates of Gaza, North Gaza, Middle Area, and Khan Yunis. Most of the telephone network (both land lines and cell phones) in Gaza is also not functioning since it
now depends on back-up generators with dwindling fuel stocks.

All of Gaza City hospitals have been without mains electricity for 48 consecutive hours, depending entirely on back-up generators. The hospitals warn that the generators are close to collapse. At the Shifa hospital, collapse would have immediate consequences for 70 intensive care unit (ICU) patients including 30 in the neonatal care who are connected to machines. ICUs throughout the Gaza Strip are overloaded. The
security situation is also preventing medical staff from reaching hospitals.Ambulances are experiencing dificulty in reaching the injured because of continuous ire. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society continues to work around the clock in order to assist the population. From Friday to Saturday midday, its ambulances transported 78 wounded to hospitals. Fifteen fatalities were also transported.

Human Rights Day 10th December

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document which recognises humanity’s common interests and belongs to us all.

The Declaration represents a contract between governments and their peoples, who have a right to demand that this document be respected. Not all governments have become parties to all human rights treaties. All countries, however, have accepted the UDHR.


As the Declaration’s custodians and beneficiaries, all of us must reclaim the UDHR, make it our own. While we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others and help make universal human rights a reality for all of us. In our efforts lies the power of the UHDR: it is a living document that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights PetitionOne way you can show your support for the UDHR and spread awareness of human rights around the globe is to sign the petition to print the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in your passport .

Australians might contemplate in particular Article 14, so cruelly ignored by the xenophobic and human rights abusing Howard government.

1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Howard's ShameSadly, the right to seek asylum takes second place to border protection in the minds of many brainwashed Australians.

The sixth ‘people-smuggling’ vessel to reach Australian waters since September arrived on December 8.

Its 44 passengers brings the number of suspected asylum seekers arriving by boat over the past 10 weeks to nearly 120.

This is a VERY VERY SMALL number of people compared to the legal migrant intake instituted by the Rudd government this year.

The overall migration program will now be 190,300 for this year, and 133,500 of those places will be allocated to permanent skilled migrants.

Wrongful detention of legitimate asylum seekers committed by Howard’s cold-eyed goons is coming back to haunt us.

Immigration Department may be forced to compensate 191 of the 247 people investigated by the Ombudsman for wrongful detention.

The department has so far offered compensation in 40 of the cases and settlements have been reached in 17. In total, about $1.2million in compensation has been paid so far.

If Australia wishes to minimise people-smuggling within the character of the UDHR to which it is signatory, it needs to address human rights issues in asylum seekers’ countries of origin.

Increased border protection to prevent the entry of desperate asylum seekers fleeing human rights abuses is an ineffective bandaid solution, and as has been amply demonstrated during the Howard years with the Tampa and SievX affairs, can lead to shameful Australian human rights abuse with consequent blowback later on, including diminishment of Australia’s international stature and authority to speak out about human rights abuse elsewhere.

Article 19 of the UDHR is today’s recommended reading for Stephen Conroy and supporters of his web censorwall.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

On December 13, protests against Conroy’s proposed web filters will be held around Australia.


Father Frank Brennan is to head a Human Rights Consultative Panel to consider a wide range of human rights issues, including whether Australia should have a bill of rights. Brennan is a self-professed fence-sitter on whether we Australians would benefit from our individual rights being enshrined in a Bill or Charter of Rights.

Australia is the only democratic country in the world without formal human rights protections – join the Getup campaign to change this.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratic elected leader of Burma and Nobel Peace Price recipient, speaks about printing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in passports.