24 November 2023
The following can be attributed to the College of Midwives Chief Executive, Alison Eddy:
The New Zealand College of Midwives and members are calling for an ongoing cessation of hostilities, fighting and violence in Gaza.
We stand with the International Confederation of Midwives and all midwives in the region, and call for an immediate ceasefire. The rights and well-being of women, newborns, and children must be upheld under all circumstances.
Newborn babies, children and pregnant women continue to be at extreme risk, as are the midwives who have chosen to stay and continue to provide lifesaving care.
The College and our members are alarmed and appalled at the violence in Gaza, including at Al Shifa Hospital. The attacks in Gaza have caused unnecessary suffering to innocent civilians including women in labour, new mothers, babies, families, midwives and hospital staff. Health workers, including midwives, have been killed or injured during the violence. The midwives and other health workers who remain in Gaza, have faced an agonising choice – either to abandon their patients or risk their own lives by staying.
According to data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) there are more than 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza at the moment, 5,500 of whom are expected to give birth in the next month. That’s more than 180 births every day, and an estimated 840 women may experience pregnancy or birth-related complications. The UNFPA goes on to say, “many of these women are cut off from safe delivery services as hospitals are no longer functioning or are overwhelmed with casualties and lacking essential fuel, medicines and basic supplies – including for the management of obstetric emergencies”.
The College supports the International Confederation of Midwives Statement on the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza. We stand alongside many organisations in our condemnation of the abhorrent violence in Gaza, and we call for the New Zealand Government to use all diplomatic channels to press those with the power to make it stop permanently, and to act with urgency to make this happen. We further call on Prime Minister and our government to demand:
- an immediate end to the siege of Gaza, and the admission of all necessary humanitarian aid, including water, food, medical equipment, and fuel
- the protection of all civilians, including the immediate return of all hostages, and the upholding of international law
- an International Criminal Court investigation into the possible crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed by Hamas, the state of Israel and other parties to the conflict
- a solution to the conflict that recognises inalienable rights to self-determination and sovereignty for all peoples
- condemnation of all forms of antisemitism and islamophobia, racism or discrimination.
-Ends- For more information please contact Ali Jones on 027 247 3112