Nobel Peace Laureates ask Ban Ki-moon to support safe passage for Freedom Flotilla 2 June 18, 2011

Nobel Women’s Initiative  -  17 June 2011

Four women Nobel Peace Laureates have sent an open letter (see letter below) calling on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II. The flotilla will be bringing much-needed humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza in late June.

Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum have asked the Secretary General to “support the people of Gaza with two key actions.  First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the boats of the Freedom Flotilla II—thus assuring the Israeli government that the boats are carrying humanitarian supplies…” and to “call on all governments to support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.”

Ki-moon has failed to make efforts to dissuade UN member governments from stopping delivery of this humanitarian aid to Gaza. These legitimate humanitarian initiatives have been undertaken by civil society in an effort to help ease the suffering of the people of Gaza as they face humanitarian crises of devastating scale. The Laureates are urging the Secretary General to use his authority to encourage international support for these initiatives, and to ask Israel not to use force against the flotilla.

 

 

10 June 2011

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations
New York, NY 10017 USA

RE: Inspection and sealing of Freedom Flotilla II cargo

Dear Mr. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

We are writing to urge you to use your good offices in support of the humanitarian needs
of the people of Gaza.

In our view, you can support the people of Gaza with two key actions.  First, by
appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the boats of the Freedom
Flotilla II—thus assuring the Israeli government that the boats are carrying humanitarian
supplies such as toys, medical supplies, cement and educational materials.  Equally
important, we strongly urge you to use your authority to call on all governments to
support the safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.  We are disappointed to learn of your
recent efforts to persuade member governments from stopping the delivery of
humanitarian aid to Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla II. We urge you to reconsider and
instead encourage member states to lend support and ask Israel not to use force against
legitimate humanitarian initiatives undertaken by civil society to help ease the suffering
of the people of Gaza who are facing a humanitarian crisis of devastating scale.

The Freedom Flotilla II, organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions and
carrying approximately 1500 ‘freedom riders,’ is set to sail to Gaza this month. Sailing in
the spirit of promoting human rights, prosperity, and social responsibility, the aim of the
Flotilla is to alleviate the humanitarian crisis faced by the citizens of Gaza.

The blockade in Gaza is clearly having a harmful impact on the people of Gaza, and
indeed UNDP and other agencies report high levels of malnutrition and other disturbing
health problems. According to a report by the World Food Programme and the Food and
Agriculture Organization, the level of “abject poverty” among the Palestinians of Gaza
has tripled since the imposition of the blockade, with 61 % of households not having
enough food. The blockade has crippled the Gaza economy and destroyed Palestinians’
livelihoods and homes.

We believe our requests to you are in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1860
of January 2009 as well as the 2010 UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on
the attack on Freedom Flotilla I, which are calling for a lift of the blockade to allow
humanitarian assistance. We urge you to do all you can to support this nonviolent
international humanitarian effort, to provide UN representatives to inspect and seal the
cargo, and to appeal to all governments to allow safe passage of the Freedom Flotilla II.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your positive
response.

Sincerely,
Mairead Maguire  (1976)
Rigoberta Menchu Tum  (1992)
Jody Williams (1997)
Shirin Ebadi (2003)


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