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Sphere calls for an end to attacks on civilians and those assisting them

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Sphere is shocked at the horrific attacks in the last week on civilian populations in Ukraine and the Middle East, including children and vulnerable adults, in Hroza – Kharkiv Province, Israel and Gaza.

Sphere condemns the mass killings, summary executions, hostage taking and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including the wanton destruction of health and medical facilities and schools. We call upon all sides for restraint, to stop the slaughter and the ongoing grave breaches of international law. To seek peaceful resolution through action that prevents or alleviates human suffering, there must be no further attacks against civilians nor people who are there to assist vulnerable people, including humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers.

William Anderson, Executive Director of Sphere, says that “the reports of so many deaths, massacres of innocent lives and wide-spread destruction to critical facilities are distressing and outrageous. Sphere members are reporting that their staff and colleagues have been killed in the last few days. The IFRC, for example, reported yesterday that four Palestine Red Crescent ambulance crew were killed in Gaza, and last Saturday, that an ambulance driver with Magen David Adom (MDA) lost his life while driving to help injured people. Those in power at this unprecedented time must be responsible, and to be held responsible if they fail humanity.”

At this distressing time, we call to mind the Humanitarian Charter which “… expresses our shared conviction as humanitarian agencies that all people affected by disaster or conflict have a right to receive protection and assistance to ensure the basic conditions for life with dignity. We believe that the principles described in this Humanitarian Charter are universal, applying to all those affected by disaster or conflict, wherever they may be, and to all those who seek to assist them or provide for their security. These principles are reflected in international law, but derive their force ultimately from the fundamental moral principle of humanity: that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Based on this principle, we affirm the primacy of the humanitarian imperative: that action should be taken to prevent or alleviate human suffering arising out of disaster or conflict, and that nothing should override this principle.”

For media enquiries, please contact Tristan Hale, Head of Communications at  tristan.hale@spherestandards.org