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40 NGOS: GOVERNMENT TO DONATE FUNDS TO UN AGENCY FOR ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN REFUGEES

Civil Alliance, along with other NGOs, has called on the Government to donate funds to the UN Agency for assistance to Palestinian refugees. We are appalled and deeply disturbed by all the events and casualties on both sides, as well as the excessive use of force by the Israeli army, which has caused approximately two thousand eight hundred civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

We appeal to all organizations and individuals to contribute to assisting Palestinian refugees who urgently need basic necessities for life and shelter from danger.

The statement, signed by 40 NGOs, is as follows:

On October 17, 2023, 40 non-governmental organizations called on the Montenegrin Government to financially support the work of the UN Agency for Assistance to Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), considering the enormous need for basic necessities and shelter for civilians in the Gaza Strip.

We are deeply saddened and disturbed by Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in the death of a thousand four hundred civilians and the abduction of 199, as well as the excessive use of force by the Israeli army, which has caused approximately two thousand eight hundred civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army’s excessive response continues the practice of violating the human rights of Palestinian civilians, apartheid, war crimes, collective punishment, persecution, and disregarding numerous resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly. We tragically witness yet another war in the Middle East, the escalation of which will inevitably cause even more suffering to civilians, both Israelis and Palestinians.

Photo: Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations

Following the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Gaza Strip, the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) announced that urgent assistance of 104 million US dollars is needed to provide a multi-sectoral humanitarian response to the residents of the Gaza Strip in the next 90 days. The funds are necessary to provide food, health supplies, shelter, and protection for 250,000 individuals seeking UNRWA’s protection in the Gaza Strip and another 250,000 Palestinian refugees in the community.

INITIATIVE GOVERNMENT TO DONATE FUNDS TO UN AGENCY FOR ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN REFUGEES

The current developments foreshadow an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, especially considering the already extremely difficult lives of the residents of the Gaza Strip, who, due to the Israeli blockade, were already on the brink of existence (50% unemployment, 81% poverty). We remind that the Gaza Strip, which has been under land and sea blockade since 2007, is inhabited by as many as 2.3 million people on approximately 365 km2 of territory, half of whom are children. In the past week alone, about 2800 people, including at least 1,000 children, have died as a result of Israeli airstrikes. Israel has prevented the population in the Gaza Strip from accessing electricity, water, and fuel and issued an ultimatum for the evacuation of over a million people from the north to the south of the territory.

We urge the Government to donate funds from the budget of Montenegro to UNRWA to join global efforts in providing assistance to those in dire need in the current conflict in the Middle East.

We emphasize that international humanitarian law guarantees the protection of civilians in case of armed conflicts, and we believe that Montenegro, as a member of the UN and a country based on liberal, democratic, and humanitarian values, has an obligation to support, within its capabilities, UN agencies that provide support to civilians affected by military conflicts.

In many crisis situations in the region, Europe, and beyond, Montenegro has shown its generosity and humanity and provided support to countries and peoples in distress. In this sense, we believe that Montenegro should continuously advocate for peace and the cessation of armed conflicts and provide appropriate humanitarian assistance that can be crucial for a vast number of people who are currently in mortal danger in the Gaza Strip.

List of organizations supporting the initiative:

1 Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations\

2 LGBT Forum Progress

3 Center for Affirmation of RE Population – CAREP

4 Civil Alliance

5 Active Zone

6 Center for Women’s Rights

7 Montenegro Media Institute

8 Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN-CG)

9 Spectrum Association

10 Action for Human Rights

11 Queer Montenegro

12 Forum MNE

13 Juventas

14 Local Democracy Agency

15 Center for Roma Initiatives

16 Association for Civil Society Development

17 NGO Punctum

18 NGO Prima

19 Montenegrin Women’s Lobby

20 Association of Paraplegics Bijelo Polje and Mojkovac

21 NGO Avlija

22 NGO Brain

23 NGO Eduko Plus

24 Children and Youth House Association

25 Association of Displaced Roma and Egyptians from Kosovo in Montenegro

26 NVU Ikre

27 NGO Women’s Action

28 NVU Hestia

29 NVU Staze

30 Center for Security Policy and European Integration

31 Ray of Hope

32 SOS Phone for Women and Children Victims of Violence Podgorica

33 Center for Civil Liberties

34 SOS Phone Rožaje

35 Montenegrin Ecologists Society

36 NGO Right to Life

37 SOS Phone for Women and Children Victims of Violence Ulcinj

38 NGO We Can

39 NGO Snail’s House

40 Montenegro-Palestine Friendship Society.

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