Disclaimer: The views expressed in this statement are those of the Girls Not Brides Secretariat only. They may not be representative of the views of our 1400 + civil society member organisations.
We, the Girls Not Brides Secretariat, join girls’ and women’s rights organisations, youth leaders, humanitarian actors, the United Nations, and others, and call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, as well as widespread and immediate access to essential and gender-responsive humanitarian aid. We deplore the indiscriminate attacks over the last month and condemn both the ongoing and escalating human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Gaza and the 07 October attack against the people of Israel.
Girls, women, and children have been disproportionately affected by the situation in Gaza for decades, and particularly so now with the ongoing and intensifying conflict. As of 03 November, 2326 women and 3760 children have been killed in the Gaza strip, representing 67% of all casualties, while thousands more have been injured. It is critical that there is an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to prevent further casualties and ensure humanitarian aid reaches people in need, especially girls, women and children, wherever they are.
Humanitarian crises are not gender neutral. Women and children are disproportionately affected in situation of conflict and crisis. Around the globe, every day, at least 500 women and adolescent girls die from pregnancy and childbirth complications in emergencies. Adolescent girls in conflict areas are 90% more likely to be out of school compared to girls in conflict-free regions. About one in three women worldwide have experienced at least one form of gender-based violence, with higher rates in conflict- or crisis-affected countries. Women and girls account for more than half of the world’s internally displaced people, and in many cases at much higher rates than men.
During any conflict or crisis it is critical that immediate access to essential and gender-responsive humanitarian aid is ensured, so that girls and women in all their diversity can access critical goods and services, including sexual and reproductive health services, and services for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
We acknowledge that historically we have not always spoken out in the face of such crises, but it is essential that we do so now. As well as the current crisis in Gaza, there are many other ongoing and escalating conflicts globally, which directly and disproportionally impact the rights and lives of girls and women. In 2022, 274 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection, 39 million more people than the previous year, which was, at the time, the highest figure in decades. We call upon all parties involved to prioritise the safety, well-being, and human rights of people, through prevention, protection, and lasting peace, as well as relief and recovery.
In the time it has taken to read this article 28 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds
Girls Not Brides
-  World Health Organization, 03 November 2023, Women and newborns bearing the brunt of the conflict in Gaza, UN agencies warn, accessed 10/11/2023
-  United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, accessed 10/11/2023
-  United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Global Humanitarian Overview 2022, accessed 10/11/2023
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