An Open Letter on the Situation in Gaza

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The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak, The Prime Minister, and
The Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition

23 November 2023

Dear Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition,

An Open Letter on the Situation in Gaza 

We welcome news of a 4-day pause in fighting in Gaza.  However, we urge you to renew your commitment to justice and the upholding of international law, and make this pause permanent.

Since October 7th, women and children, the elderly, and the already weak have borne the brunt of this crisis. The world has witnessed the collapse of emergency medical services, aid services, sanitary services, and telecommunications. The toll on innocent lives has been unconscionable, and we believe the UK government's response thus far has fallen short of our shared democratic principles and universal human rights values.

According to the UN chief, ‘the world is witnessing an unparalleled and unprecedented’ civilian death toll. As of Monday 20th November 2023:

- Over 13,000 civilians have been killed, of which more than 5 350 were children
- It is said 2 mothers have been killed every hour
- There are 2000 new widows, without adequate food, housing, and sanitation services
- 1.7 million people are displaced across the Gaza strip 
- 1500 children remain missing
- Al-Shifa hospital, the Indonesian Hospital and Al Fakhouri school have been attacked
- 24 people were killed in the attack that directly hit Al Fakhouri school in Jabalia - at the time of the incident the facility was sheltering around 7000 internally displaced.  
- Over 50 journalists have been killed
- 83 mosques have been destroyed and another 170 damaged
- 67 UNWRA installations have been damaged
- 104 UNWRA staff killed
- 884k people are currently sheltering in 154 UNWRA installations 
- Access to food, electricity, water and fuel was cut off, increasing the scale of devastation and decreasing the impact of capability of humanitarian efforts 

The UN Development Programme and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia has warned that up to 16 years of human development could be wiped out. According to their projections following assessment, “a third month of war would see poverty increase by almost 45 percent, raising the number of additional people pushed into poverty to more than 660,000, while the decrease of GDP will reach 12.2 percent with total losses of US$2.5 billion.”
The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated, and it is imperative that we collectively respond to the many contraventions of international law we are witnessing. We urgently implore you to take the following actions:

- Make the Pause Permanent: Demand an immediate and unconditional ceasefire from all parties involved in the conflict, including release of all hostages and prisoners. 
- Immediate Water, Food and Fuel: Deliver and permit others to provide immediate access to water, food and fuel at the scale required.
- Humanitarian Assistance: Deliver and permit others to provide immediate humanitarian aid at the scale required, ensuring that essential supplies, medical assistance, psychological support, safe housing and other support needed reach all those in need
- UNRWA Support: Strengthen support for UNRWA to address the immediate needs of those affected by the conflict. Everything destroyed must be rebuilt, and additional resources provided to ensure the return and well-being of displaced populations.
- Accountability for International Law Violations: Support efforts to hold accountable those responsible for violations of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. A commitment to justice is fundamental for long-term stability and reconciliation.
- Long-term Solutions: Actively engage in collaborative efforts that focus on fostering harmony, safety, and a sustainable economy for the residents of Palestine, and ensure that the voices of women are heard.

The world is watching, and your actions will shape the course of history. As UK citizens, our collective adherence to international law and commitment to justice is pivotal in addressing the challenges we face. 

Let us stand together for peace, justice, and the universal values enshrined in international law and make the pause permanent.


Baroness Shaista Gohir OBE (CEO)
Dr. Iram Sattar MBE (Co-Chair)
Nazmin Akthar (Co-Chair)
Sophie Garner (Trustee)
Faeeza Vaid MBE (Trustee)
Ibtisam Belola (Trustee)

And signed by: (if you would like to add your name, email with name, professions / job title and location).
    1. Dr Anjam Sultana, Educational Psychologist and Associate Professor of Applied Educational and Child Psychology, Birmingham
    2. Farah Hanif, Solicitor, Greater Manchester 
    3. Niparun Nessa, MWNUK Advisory Board & Teacher, Oldham
    4. Farah Farzana, Board Member of Al Masaar SCIO
    5. Siyyara Bakhsh, Retired Senior Social Worker, London
    6. Amina El-Marini, Lawyer, Bedfordshire
    7. Soraya Khan Ms, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, North London
    8. Avril Coelho, Board Representative, London
    9. Patricia Campbell, Retired Teacher, Manchester
    10. Lauren Parr, Supporter Services Lead at Make Birth Better, Norwich UK
    11. Qudsia Mirza, Senior Lecturer in Law, London
    12. Dr Khadijah Hussain, Doctor (Medical) Consultant Psychiatrist, London
    13. Roxana Rais, Chair of Muslim Women's Advisory Group, London
    14. Jusnara Choudhury, Counsellor, Birmingham
    15. Iram Woolley, School Governor, London
    16. Nigat Ara, Heath and Wellbeing, Greater Manchester
    17. Alderman Najma Hafeez, Businesswoman and Chair if Suraya Foundation, Birmingham
    18. Nazar Hadi, Montessori Teacher, Retired, Luton
    19. S Bauluck, Pharmacist, Kent
    20. Farida Mukadam, Daughter, Sister, Mother, Concerned Citizen, Islamic Studies Teacher, Thermomix Advisor, Volunteer
    21. Farzana Hussain
    22. Nahim Ruhi Khan, Non-Executive Director, Leeds
    23. Emily Garbutt, Administrator, Tunbridge Wells
    24. Professor Tamjid Mujtaba, Institute of Education, London
    25. Huda Jawad, Equalities Campaigner and Co-Founder of Faith and VAWG Coalition, Co-Director of The Three Hijabis, London
    26. Amna Abdullatif, Independent Councillor, Co-Director of The Three Hijabis, Manchester
    27. Shaista Aziz, Independent Councillor, Co-Director of The Three Hijabis, Oxford
    28. Iqra Khan, Law Graduate, Leeds
    29. Sumaya Rassool, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Birmingham
    30. Sarah Rizvi, Homemaker
    31. Dr Kate Clayton-Hathway, Freelance Equalities Researcher, Oxford
    32. Seline, LLB Law with Psychology Graduate, London
    33. Swadeka Ahsun, CSO/CEO Gender, Peace & Security (in consultation with UNDESA)
    34. Sofina Razaq, Birmingham
    35. Shameem Hussain, Operations Director, Birmingham 
    36. Zlakha Ahmed, Chief Executive, Apna Haq, Rotherham
    37. Rachel Chahboun , Self employed, Sheffield
    38. Nafisa Kiani, Civil Service Employee, London City
    39. Gilda Spaducci, PhD student, Kent 
    40. Naseera Mangera, Housewife, Bolton 
    41. Amina Hart, Legal researcher, Post graduate Law Student, Glasgow
    42. Sameera Waheed, IT Programme Manager & Company Director, London.
    43. Naseem Mirza, Senior Practitioner Social Work
    44. Bob Carpenter, Volunteer fitness and well being instructor for Age UK, North Tyneside
    45. Nadia Bashir, Senior Research Fellow, Sheffield
    46. Raheel Mirza, Managing Director of The Cookalong Company, Sheffield
    47. Nasseam Akhtar, Care Assistant, Birmingham
    48. Zaynab Asghar, Nottingham Muslim Women's Network, Nottingham 
    49. Hajji Laird Mostafa Mohammad Karim, Pharmacologist & Marriage Coach, Social Entrepreneur, Liverpool
    50. Farhat Zia, Former chair of HAWA( Hertfordshire Asian Women Association),St Albans 
    51. Mrs A Fayyaz, Projects Support, Birmingham 
    52. Nighat Ehjaz, Invigilator, Luton
    53. Dr Saman Khan, Consultant Psychiatrist, Glasgow
    54. Fariha Thomas, Glasgow
    55. Anisha Callaghan, Patient Safety Manager, Southport
    56. Khudeja Sattar, Integrative Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Birmingham
    57. Michelle De Souza
    58. Shahna Aowlad, Helpline Manager, Birmingham
    59. Emteaz Hussain, Writer, Nottingham
    60. Iqra Noor, Advisor, Birmingham
    61. Arun Korotania, Recruiter, Birmingham
    62. Ibrahim Ahmed, Student, Birmingham
    63. Bushra Eman, Customer service, Birmingham
    64. Zara Shaheen, Student, Blackburn
    65. Ayesha Raja, Invigilator and Helpline worker, Birmingham
    66. Yasmin Begum, FM Account Manager, Luton
    67. Famida Khan, Service Manager, Birmingham,
    68. Lisa Greenspan
    69. Fareeha Jay, Dietitian, Plymouth
    70. Sonia Jalal, Project Manager 
    71. Dr Ola Abdellatif, GP, Cambridge
    72. Uzma Naqvi Life Coaching Ltd 
    73. Shuggi Parveen-Bhatia, Private Equity Lawyer, London
    74. Sadaf Rahman, Senior Business Analyst, Greater London
    75. Lauren Healey, Freelance Project Manager & Funding Consultant, Newcastle
    76. Dahabo Isse
    77. Dr Furzana Hameed, Dentist, Derby
    78. Sienna Lewis-Borrett, PA, Liverpool
    79. Katie Darlington, Independent Child Trafficking Guardian, Mother, Wales
    80. Shehrazade Maria Mamjan, CEO Bridge of Harmony Ltd 
    81. Karen Leach, Chief Executive Officer at Birmingham Friends of the Earth, Birmingham
    82. Sabia Rehman, Chaplain at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield
    83. Sabina Hafesji, London
    84. Amina Ali, Teacher, London
    85. Sumeina Hussain
    86. Dr Sobia Qazi, University Lecturer, Nottingham
    87. Ifat Mahmood, Teacher, Nottingham
    88. Ursula Walker, Trustee at Aaina Community Hub, Walsall 
    89. Zaheera Kala, Solicitor, London 
    90. A'isha Khan, Chief Executive Officer at Aaina Community Hub, Walsall 
    91. Ghazala Navaid, Vice Chair Muslim Women’s Advisory Council, London
    92. Mariam Ahmed, Chief Executive Office , Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre, Scotland

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