Date: 05 Feb 2019
On the eve of World Cancer Day
The International commission (ICSPR) calls on the Palestinian authorities and the international community to intervene urgently to remove the obstacles that threaten the lives of cancer patients.
The fourth of February of each year marks World Cancer Day. This annual event aims to raise awareness of the dangers of the disease through prevention, early detection and treatment, as it is one of the biggest health problems facing the modern world. Therefore, it is a truly serious opportunity to remind governments of their responsibilities and urge them to step up their efforts in the areas of protection, prevention and care for cancer patients and to take advantage of the development, which ensures that about 40% of cancer cases can be prevented annually.
This occasion is of utmost importance this year, in light of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza Strip due to the Israeli occupation and siege, the internal division and the collective punishment imposed by the Palestinian government in Ramallah, under which medical consumables and drugs were reduced to hospitals in Gaza Strip, in light of the intensification of internal quarrels that left a catastrophic impact on cancer patients in Gaza, who are threatened of worsening their medical condition as a result of the health crisis that casts a shadow of death over them. The Palestinian Ministry of Health estimates the number of cancer patients in Gaza Strip of about (8515), including (608) children and (4705) women.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) stressed that this event comes at a time of increasing psychological and physical suffering of cancer patients due to the lack of facilities and severe shortage of diagnostic equipment, medicines and treatments. According to the Ministry of Health, the proportion of the deficit in medicines to treat cancer patients and blood diseases exceeded (58%) during 2018, as a result of that shortage and the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on the freedom of movement of patients through the Erez crossing, which threatened the lives of many patients and denied them access to their right to adequate treatment, especially for critical cases that required to receive treatment outside Gaza Strip. Therefore, ICSPR demands the following:
– ICSPR warns against the continuation of ignoring the unprecedented deterioration of the conditions of cancer patients in Gaza Strip due to the continued occupation policies and the brutal Israeli siege imposed on Gaza Strip, as well as the continued internal division and the collective punishment imposed by the Palestinian presidency and government, which cast a disastrous shadow over the overall human rights situation, especially the health sector, which has entered a dangerous phase due to the reduction of medicines, treatments, medical transfers and fuel needed to operate the generators in hospitals.
– ICSPR calls upon the Palestinian government and all Palestinian parties to neutralize the rights of patients, especially cancer patients of any political strife, including working urgently to provide the health sector in Gaza Strip with its essential needs of medicines, consumables, medical supplies, fuel and medical transfers.
– ICSPR calls upon the international community, including the World Health Organization (WHO), and international governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned, to take concrete and urgent steps to end the ongoing violations of the right of patients in Gaza Strip and enable them to receive appropriate health care by obliging the occupation authorities to respect their obligations, and ensure that patients reach hospitals outside Gaza and take into account their condition as they travel through the Erez crossing, as well as urgent intervention to provide treatment protocols for cancer patients in line with the right of citizens to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.