We, the laureates of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, are deeply concerned by the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the continued Israeli occupation in the West Bank.
Gaza has been bombed more than 6,000 times and at least 17,000 lives, including innocent children and babies, have been killed as a result of Israeli retaliation to Hamas’ attack on 7 October.
The right to life is the most fundamental value. Without it, there is no democracy worthy of its name. This right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this December.
We, the Network of Laureates of Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (NLG), join the UN, the International Red Cross and the World Health Organization to call for international law to be respected.
The indiscriminate bombing of civilian infrastructure and the cutting off supplies, including for hospitals, have resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the area – and importantly, risks destabilising the Middle East region and triggering wider conflicts between major powers which will have unparalleled political instability and economic consequences.
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International humanitarian law is clear on protecting civilians, journalists, aid and health workers in conflict regions – no state should be exempted from this rule.
We, the members of NLG, call upon world leaders to immediately halt and act quickly to intervene on humanitarian grounds and prevent the crisis from escalating to a wider conflict with terrible destabilising consequences.
Lastly, we are concerned about the ongoing human rights violations, impunity and judicial harassment in the Asia Pacific region.
We repeat our expression of solidarity and call attention to human rights violations committed against our fellow laureates and human rights defenders: Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh), Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Association (CCITTA), Arnon Nampa (Thailand), Chow Hang Tung (Hong Kong) and human rights defenders Harris Azhar together with Fatia Maulidiyanti (Indonesia) as well as our fellow human rights defenders in Myanmar.
7 December 2023
Network of Laureates of Gwangju Prize forHuman Rights (NLG)
Kay Rala, Xanana Gusmao, WPJ Basil Fernando, Korea Association of Bereaved Families for Democracy, Dandeniya Gamage Jayanthi, Wardah Hafiz, Malalai Joya, Irom Sharmila Chanu, Lenin Raghuvanshi, Muneer Malik, Min Ko Naing, Sushil Pyakurel, Binayak Sen, 문정현, H.I.J.O.S, Adilur Rahman Khan, Mothers of Khavaran, Latifah Anum Siregar, Bersih, Nguyen Dan Que, Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, Nandana Manatunga, JoannaCarino, Bedjo Untung, Arnon Nampa, Cynthia Maung, Parents Circle Families Forum – Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace, Tempo Weekly Magazine, Sombath Somphone, Serge Bambara, Dialita Choir, Watchdoc documentary maker, Chow Hang-Tung, The Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Association