NSWCCL Media Statement: Freedom Flotilla must have safe passage

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties is aware that there is a freedom flotilla that will shortly be departing Turkiye with 5,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid including food and medical supplies for the citizens of Palestine.

We are aware that international human rights observers will be accompanying the volunteers aboard the Freedom Flotilla, including Australian citizens.

The Council recognises the Freedom Flotilla as both a form of protest and as a humanitarian relief campaign with the focus on abating the extreme conditions being experienced by the innocent civilians in Palestine. We note that this includes starvation, mass displacement, lack of access to medical assistance, psychological trauma and death.

We are calling on the Australian Government to ensure that they do everything within their power to safeguard the Freedom Flotilla. This includes ensuring, to the fullest extent possible, that it is not intercepted by any foreign States and that their safe passage as a humanitarian convey is respected.

We have witnessed aid workers and those delivering humanitarian assistance in Palestine dying in the most tragic of circumstances, including Australian citizens. It is concerning that the death of aid workers, including Australian citizens, has not resulted in any meaningful action being undertaken on behalf of the Australian Government.

We call upon the Australian Government to do all that they can, both publicly and through diplomatic means, to ensure that the Freedom Flotilla is provided safe passage to Palestine and that the humanitarian assistance is permitted to be supplied to Palestinian civilians.

Comments from Lydia Shelly, President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties

“The Australian public desperately wants a meaningful and lasting ceasefire in Palestine. The public have born witness to innocent civilians; the overwhelming majority being women and children being killed, injured and starved.

The Freedom Flotilla represents a failure of the international community, including Australia, in ensuring that innocent men, women and children, do not continue to be killed, injured, starved and displaced in Palestine.

The Australian Government has a moral obligation to ensure that they do everything that they can to protect the volunteers aboard the Freedom Flotilla, including Australian citizens. We have already seen Australians, including aid workers and those offering humanitarian assistance in Palestine, die at the hands of Israel’s continuous military campaign.

If our state and federal governments continue to shade themselves in the comfort of cowardice instead of showing decisive leadership against the killing of civilians in Palestine, then they are condemning our country as being on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of humanity. That will be their legacy to the Australian public.”

For more information visit: https://freedomflotilla.org/pt/conditions-in-gaza/