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The escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza and addressing the impacts in our communities

Commission – General
Content type: Media Release
Topic(s): Race Discrimination

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, delivered a powerful statement last week raising the urgency of the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

 “The war in Gaza must end. Clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes and possibly other crimes under international law, have been committed by all parties. It is time – well past time – for peace, investigation and accountability,” he said.

In Australia, many communities continue to be affected by the war in Gaza and the Middle East. As the NHRI, the Commission has a crucial role in promoting an understanding and acceptance of human rights in Australia. The antisemitism, anti-Palestinian and other racism we have seen in Australia during the conflict is unjustifiable and must be condemned. No person in Australia should ever be subjected to racism. Addressing racism under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) is a key part of the Commission’s mandate and underpins its work to support affected communities. With support from Government, the Commission will soon commence community consultations to understand the extent and impact of anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism in Australia.

The High Commissioner was unequivocal: “Let me be absolutely clear, and issue yet another stark warning. The prospect of an Israeli ground assault on Rafah would take the nightmare being inflicted on people in Gaza into a new dimension. Over 1.5 million people are sheltering in Rafah, despite continuing bombardment, and it has become Gaza's humanitarian hub … I call on all States with influence to do everything within their power to avert such an outcome.”

As Australia’s national human rights institution (NHRI), the Australian Human Rights Commission urges the Australian Government to use its influence to advocate for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.

ENDS | Media contact: or +61 457 281 897