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Amnesty Int Launches Emergency Appeal On Gaza

Amnesty International launches emergency appeal on Gaza

An emergency appeal for the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza has been launched today by Amnesty International, after their discovery of Israel's illegal use of white phosphorus. Amnesty's researchers on the ground in Gaza City have collected evidence of the extent of destruction in the region, including the widespread use of white phosphorus in residential areas.

"Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate. Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime," says Donatella Rovera, a delegate from Amnest'’s fact-finding team.

"The lack of sufficient humanitarian aid into Gaza, the flattening of neighbourhoods into bare moonscapes, torn down and ripped up infrastructure – this destruction of the widest scale has left civilians in the most dire situation," says Amnesty New Zealand's spokesperson Rebecca Emery.

As the people of Gaza now struggle to pick up their lives, Amnesty appeals to Kiwis to help protect civilians and support Amnesty's mission to investigate abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.

"Contributions from the people of New Zealand will help Amnesty continue to be a strong independent voice calling for justice for the people of Gaza," adds Emery.

Anyone wishing to donate to Amnesty International New Zealand's emergency Gaza appeal can do so at

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For all of Amnesty's latest coverage on the Gaza crisis, please visit

Background: Amnesty's fact-finding mission arrived in Gaza City on Saturday 17 January, hours after the Israeli Government announced a ceasefire. The Amnesty team were amongst the first to gain access to the area since international journalists and human rights workers were barred from early November 2008. Updates from their mission can be found at

White phosphorus is a highly incendiary weapon which Amnesty believes to be indiscriminate and illegal. When white phosphorus lands on skin it burns deeply through muscle and into the bone, continuing to burn until deprived of oxygen.

International Human Rights Law applies in times of both war and peace. International Humanitarian Law, also known as the laws of armed conflict, is laid out by the Geneva Conventions – legal safeguards that cover the ways war may be fought and the protection of individuals. They specifically protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, chaplains, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).


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