Security Council must call for immediate ceasefire in Middle East

Published: 28 July 2006

As UN Under-Secretary General Jan Egeland briefs the Security Council today on the dire humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, Council members must call for an immediate ceasefire and work to ensure that the over half a million people affected have access to humanitarian relief, said international agency Oxfam.

“It is day 17 of indiscriminate attacks from both sides, and for civilians there is no end in sight to the daily bloodshed and violence,” said Oxfam’s Advocacy Director Bernice Romero. “The Security Council must put its full weight behind an immediate ceasefire to prevent further needless deaths of civilians.”

“The Security Council is the world body charged with maintaining peace and establishing security, yet it is unable to do so because it is being paralyzed by the US and the UK,” Bernice Romero said.

“A ceasefire is needed now, not when one side has achieved its military objectives. Until there is a cessation of hostilities, it will be impossible to gain unimpeded humanitarian access to the hundreds of thousands of displaced people.”

All parties to the conflict must immediately recognize their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to distinguish between civilians and combatants and to refrain from attacks that cause disproportionate harm to the civilian population. In two and a half weeks the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has killed over 430 people in Lebanon and over 50 in Israel.

The targeting of civilians and civilian installations by both sides is our concern. Under international humanitarian law all warring parties have a responsibility to protect civilians.

Oxfam also warned the Security Council and international community not to lose sight of the humanitarian crisis and continued killing of civilians in Gaza. Over one million Palestinians are facing major disruptions to the most fundamental services including clean drinking water, sewerage and access to health care.

Oxfam is delivering humanitarian aid in Lebanon through existing partner organizations. An Oxfam seven-person Rapid Response Team is in Damascus waiting to go into Lebanon, security permitting. Once in Lebanon they will assess what people’s needs are, and will support and advise Oxfam’s partners on the distribution of vital relief items.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Shaista Aziz in Syria on +963 972 81844, or
Caroline Green in Washington DC on +1 202 321 7858, or
Ian Bray in UK on +44 (0)1865 472498, Mobile +44 (0) 7721 461339