CWS Marks Human Rights Day, Highlights Need to Address Global Displacement, Find a Permanent Ceasefire in Gaza

December 10, 2023

Washington, D.C.—75 years ago, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It established the international foundation for humane treatment of all people, and secured such rights as the Right to asylum, marriage, peaceable assembly, and freedom from persecution, among many others. 

Church World Service recognizes that this declaration and its applications are of utmost importance as we witness the ongoing displacement of over 108 million people across the world. Alongside this unprecedented level of global displacement, we are witness to the unfolding tragedy in Gaza, where more than 80 percent of the population has been forced to leave their homes.  Church World Service calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, as well as the immediate release of all hostages, including 137 Israeli hostages still held in Gaza and nearly 2,900 Palestinians currently held by Israel without trial or charge. 

“As we honor this anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Church World Service pledges to support all those impacted by war and persecution, including the people of Gaza, of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and those displaced by violence in Ukraine, and Afghanistan, among others,” said George Devendorf, Senior Director of External Relations at CWS. “More than 1.8 million Gazans, around 80 percent of Gaza’s population, have been displaced since October 7th. Gaza, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, are facing unprecedented risks from military attack, hunger, lack of access to clean water and medical care, and exposure to the elements as people are forced to shelter in tents in the dead of winter.” 

CWS remains committed to advocating staunchly for the rights and voices of the most vulnerable. The organization prioritizes safeguarding those seeking safety from violence and persecution, those displaced by disaster and famine, and those who are discriminated against due to the color of their skin, the people they love, the gender they express, or the faith they practice. All people have the right to dignity, safety, and a voice.

As the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza worsens, the UN Secretary General has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which requests immediate Security Council Action towards a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. CWS supports the calls for ceasefire and calls for the safeguarding of all civilians in Israel, Gaza, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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