November 17, 2023 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: According to a press statement released by the Sikh Federation UK, “hundreds of Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations based in over 40 countries have come together to publicly call on Heads of State and the UN Security Council to prioritise the preservation of human life and deliver an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza”.
‘Calls from nations, international NGOs and faith communities across the globe for an immediate “humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza are growing louder after more than five weeks into the armed conflict following the abhorrent terror attack on Israeli civilians on 7 October and the taking of hostages’, reads the statement.
“Most want to see an end to the conflict and the needless killing of tens of thousands of innocents, especially women and children. It is difficult to comprehend the shock and horror of thousands of babies and children being killed and injured who are too young to know or understand what is happening. The conflict has resulted in the killing of a child every ten minutes”, it reads further.
“Although Israel has the right to defend itself, many question the decision to cut off food, water, medicine, electricity and fuel for 2.2 million Palestinians and deny access to essentials to survive. The time is right for diplomatic pressure to be applied to bring about an immediate ceasefire as we have already witnessed too much death and destruction. A ceasefire will save the lives of thousands of innocent civilians and bring an end to the downward spiral in Gaza”, the press release reads.
“A ceasefire will be the first step that can lead to a negotiated settlement and permanent peace to a conflict that has been going on for decades. This must be the ultimate goal for all concerned”, Sikh Federation UK Added.
It notes that [i]n late October, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to cessation of hostilities”. Countries standing with Israel are currently only calling for “humanitarian pauses”, but not a “ceasefire”. “Truces” or “pauses” woefully fall short of a “ceasefire”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously rejected a “temporary truce”, but under pressure has now agreed to implement daily four-hour “humanitarian pauses”. Israel is refusing to discuss a ceasefire without the release of the 240 hostages being held by Hamas. This week, Hamas has said it is willing to release 70 hostages in exchange for a five-day “truce”.
The dire humanitarian situation with so many killed, injured and displaced demands the need to move beyond these different terms with different meanings. World leaders need to urgently find common ground to move to an unconditional ceasefire with the release of all hostages.
A delay in declaring a ceasefire and releasing all hostages will ultimately make a negotiated settlement much more difficult to achieve. Given the suffering of civilians on both sides in the Israel-Hamas conflict, it is imperative we have an immediate ceasefire that will signal the more difficult task of beginning to deliver long-term security and stability to both Palestinians and Israelis, reads the release.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“The catastrophe in Gaza demands that world leaders show courage and apply diplomatic pressure to urgently deliver an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
“We have been liaising with Sikh Gurdwaras and organisations across the globe and are putting our collective voices together in this statement to urge world leaders to bring about an immediate ceasefire.”
“Political leaders who drag their feet and miss this opportunity to deliver a ceasefire will face a serious credibility crisis in the eyes of people across the globe. It will forever be a stain on their collective conscience.”
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