UN Women’s Executive Director, Sima Bahous, concluded a two-day visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt to speak of the dire crisis in Gaza, where she welcomed the crucial work of the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Egyptian Red Crescent and other humanitarian actors in Egypt and reiterated the urgency of immediate and unhindered humanitarian access, including the provision of fuel.
In Egypt, Bahous stressed that: “The international community has a pressing duty to ensure the protection of the people of Gaza, and of women and girls. Most urgent among these duties is to heed Security Council Resolution 2712, to immediately put in place extended humanitarian pauses and corridors and to abide by international humanitarian law. We join the UN’s call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the immediate, unconditional release of all the hostages, many of whom are women, unrestricted humanitarian access, the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, and accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”
Bahous stressed the specific needs of women and girls. She noted that of the more than 11,000 people who have been killed thus far, two-thirds have been women and children and that more than 1.5 million people have been displaced without access to services and critical infrastructure, denying women of their dignity. Beyond the lack of access to food, clean water, shelter and sanitation, Gaza’s women are caring for their children, the sick and the elderly. Many bear the weight of their family’s survival alone.
In her meetings, Bahous spoke about the unbearable situation for women and girls, and the imperative of collectively ensuring that, as aid enters Gaza, their specific needs are addressed. She heard from partners in Egypt of their critical efforts to respond to the crisis and their concerns for the well-being and protection of women in Gaza.
“Even amid the current crisis, women in Gaza are again showing the power of women’s leadership and their centrality to their communities in the most appalling of circumstances. They are working as first responders and volunteers to try and keep people safe. UN Women pledges our continuing support, including to Palestinian women’s organizations in Gaza, where our long-standing relationships are more important than ever”, Bahous said.
Bahous announced an immediate release of emergency funds to support women in Gaza as part of UN Women’s 6-month Gaza Response Plan that is providing life-saving assistance to women and girls, through women’s organizations and humanitarian actors, continuous support to women-led and women-focused Palestinian organizations, and support to the humanitarian system to ensure women’s needs are prioritized in the response.
During her visit, the Executive Director further announced that UN Women has entered a partnership with the World Food Programme in Palestine to provide food and cash assistance to 14,000 women in Gaza, totaling one in three of all women-headed households, which will provide urgent support to nearly 74,000 people.
She also shared that UN Women will immediately support the Egyptian Red Crescent with the distribution of items identified by women in Gaza as priority needs, to tens of thousands of women in Gaza, including upcoming requirements for the winter.
The UN and its partners’ Flash Appeal for the Occupied Palestinian Territory has identified the 2.2 million population of the Gaza Strip in need of assistance.
During her mission to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Bahous held meetings with Government officials including His Excellency Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Her Excellency, Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council of Women, and Dr. Rami Al-Nazer Executive Director of the Egyptian Red Crescent.
Originally published on UN Women