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CAFOD’s reaction to ICJ’s ruling on South Africa’s case alleging genocide by Israel in Gaza

26 January 2024

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has issued an interim ruling today on South Africa's genocide case against Israel.

Responding to the ICJ ruling, CAFOD’s Head of Middle East Region, Janet Symes, said:

“The ICJ order reinforces CAFOD’s repeated calls for unimpeded humanitarian access and an urgent end to the bloodshed in Gaza. We do not believe this conflict offers any lasting solution to the crisis in the region and it must stop immediately.

“The measures the ICJ have stipulated include the need for immediate humanitarian assistance. This must be urgently acted upon. There are no safe spaces in Gaza and the current level of assistance is nowhere near enough. Our partners working inside Gaza are exhausted as they continue to offer shelter and assistance to families. Only a sustained ceasefire will create the conditions for a full humanitarian response.

“The UK must recognise its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Prevention Convention and call for an immediate ceasefire, the upholding of international law by all parties to the conflict, and support the desperately needed humanitarian assistance.

“In Khan Younis, CAFOD’s local partner had been helping more than 9,000 people by providing places to sleep in their three shelters, hot meals, and carrying out activities to distract children from the disruption and trauma caused by the conflict all around them. But it’s now too dangerous in Khan Younis. Having already left their homes, families are being uprooted once again and moved to new, hastily built shelters elsewhere.”

Notes to editors

  • For more information and interviews contact CAFOD's Head of Media Anil Ranchod (, +44 (0)7969 984001) or CAFOD's out-of-hours media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301429. 

  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. Working with communities across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice. The agency works with people in need, regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality.

  • Read more about CAFOD’s response to the crisis.

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