Palestinians arrive south of Gaza City on November 12, 2023, after fleeing their homes in Gaza City and the Northern Gaza Strip amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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Finland's youth sector has raised a vehement voice against the ongoing violence in Gaza, particularly highlighting the devastating impact on children and young people. The sector calls for the Finnish government and global leaders to demand an immediate ceasefire and initiate stringent measures for peace efforts.

The ongoing conflict in Gaza has resulted in the tragic loss of over ten thousand lives, many of them children and young people.

The youth sector strongly condemns violence against civilians and civilian infrastructure, labeling such acts as war crimes under international humanitarian law. This condemnation extends to both state actors and armed organizations. Protecting civilians, especially children and young people, in times of crisis is a fundamental obligation under numerous international treaties.

Allianssi, the Finnish national youth council, urges the international community to take immediate action to establish a ceasefire in the region, ensure humanitarian aid reaches the Gazan civilians, and start active peace-building efforts.

The European Youth Forum, an umbrella organization for youth organizations in Europe, had already called in October for the European Union to work towards the release of hostages and a ceasefire. The Gazan civilians should not bear the brunt of the conflict initiated by Hamas.

The situation in Gaza also indirectly affects youth globally. The youth sector emphasizes that Islamophobia, antisemitism, or racism are never acceptable. Adults, in particular, are urged to take responsibility in discussions about Gaza, focusing on peace rather than hatred.

After achieving a ceasefire, Finland, as part of the international community, should actively promote peace in the region and ensure the engagement of young generations in this process. Committed to the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, Finland recognizes that lasting peace cannot be achieved without the involvement and support of the youth. This is particularly critical in Gaza, where nearly half of the population is under 18 years old.

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