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National Women’s Council calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Published: Friday, November 17, 2023

NWC says women and children are bearing the brunt of the conflict, calls on Irish government to do everything in its power to broker a ceasefire, and humanitarian aid

The National Women’s Council (NWC) echoes several UN agencies, and civil society across the globe, including Jewish voices, in calling for peace. There must be an immediate cessation of hostilities, unimpeded entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the release of hostages, in order to protect women and civilians and to build a lasting peace.

NWC Director Orla O’Connor said

“We are extremely alarmed by the reports from Gaza highlighting the impact of the war on the civilian population, where women and children are bearing the brunt of hostilities. There are 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with 180 giving birth every day, most without sanitation or pain relief. There has been an increase in complications resulting in maternal death, stillbirth, and miscarriage. The only way this situation can improve is by declaring a ceasefire and ending the siege.”

NWC is gravely concerned at the risk to the lives, and physical and psychological integrity, of the women and children now trapped in Gaza. We express deep distress at the targeting of hospitals and other civilian infrastructure . We are deeply concerned for the survival of everyone now trapped in Gaza – women, children, men; Palestinians, international citizens, and hostages.

In our call for a ceasefire, NWC emphasises the need to move towards a meaningful peace process which includes the voices of women and young people, both Israeli and Palestinian. History has shown that sustainable peace is only possible when such voices are heard.

NWC calls on the Irish government to continue to do everything in its power to promote an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace process which includes the voices of women as a priority.


For comment: Orla O’Connor

For more information, please contact Catherine Hearn, NWC Communications Officer, 087 1965300 or catherineh@nwci.ie



UN Women have described as an “outrage” the cutting off of food, water, medicine, electricity and fuel to 2.2 million Palestinians by Israel. NWC notes also the cutting off of telecommunications and killing of journalists, which means the atrocities in Gaza are potentially much worse than is possible to currently verify.

UNFPA, UNICEF, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said women and children are bearing the brunt of the conflict, both as casualties (67%) and in reduced access to health services.

The WHO has said this is the highest number of attacks on healthcare facilities they have ever seen in such a short space of time.  

UNICEF is reporting the deaths of 420 children a day in this illegal conflict, describing Gaza as a graveyard for children. An interagency UN statement reports that this phase of the conflict has engendered the highest ever number of UN casualties.