The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting on the occasion of its 77th Ordinary Session, held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, from 20 October to 9 November 2023, is following with concern the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and its negative consequences on the populations in the region.
According to the local authorities, the military escalation in Gaza has so far claimed more than 7,000 victims, mostly children, women and the elderly, while tens of thousands of people have been injured.
In addition, the territory's population remains trapped, without livelihoods and access to vital services.
The Commission wishes to stress that any crisis affecting the Gaza Strip, a territory that has a land border with the Arab Republic of Egypt, a State party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter), would inevitably have negative repercussions on the African continent.
In particular, the Commission is concerned about:
- Information on the existence of citizens of several State Parties to the Charter, among the victims in Gaza, including women and children and the elderly;
- The existence of citizens from the State Parties to the Charter, among those unable to leave the territory;
- Threats of deportation of part of the population of Gaza to the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt;
- Finally, the refusal of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which remains currently blocked in the Arab Republic of Egypt, a state party to the Charter.
The Commission underlines the importance of the fundamental principles of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law, which enshrine respect for the right to life and the inherent dignity of the human person.
The Commission calls on the international community to work tirelessly, for the immediate cessation of hostilities and for borders to be opened to ensure the free movement of blocked persons and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to provide assistance to affected populations.
The Commission calls on State Parties to the Charter to spare no effort and take appropriate measures to ensure the protection of their citizens in Gaza.
Done in Arusha, this 27th day of October 2023