Statement: ACT Alliance calls for a reversal of the decision to halt funding to UNRWA


The decision by several key donor countries to halt funding to UNRWA, based on accusations made by the Israeli government of UNRWA staff involvement in a Hamas attack, is deeply concerning. The allegations over the involvement of some UNRWA staff in the 7 October attacks are very serious and must be thoroughly investigated. Anyone involved in acts of terror must be held accountable, it is however essential to adhere to evidence-based decision-making during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis and a volatile political situation. We encourage all key stakeholders to refrain from hasty decisions that impact millions of suffering civilians and to make a thorough and impartial assessment of these allegations before taking any drastic measure.

UNRWA plays a critical role in providing essential humanitarian support to Palestinian people, including food, medicine and shelter. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, rightly points out that the decision to suspend funding will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, further deteriorating the socio-economic conditions in the West Bank and neighboring countries.

Furthermore, the implications of this decision extend beyond the immediate humanitarian concerns, significantly impacting the broader political context, jeopardizing the prospects for lasting peace in the region.

Confronted with these formidable challenges, it is imperative for the international community to ensure the non-politicization of humanitarian aid. We challenge the decision of funding donors to penalize the humanitarian needs of millions of women, men and children to confront the alleged internal failures of a single institution.

ACT Alliance together with the ACT Palestine Forum, along with numerous faith-based and civil society organizations in Palestine and Israel, calls on all key donors who have cut funding to the UNRWA to promptly reconsider this decision.

These actions not only exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis but also cultivate a pervasive sense of injustice, hopelessness and suspicion towards humanitarian aid and humanitarian principles among the Palestinian population.

As part of the ACT Alliance, we join the multiple calls to governments to resume funding the UNRWA. It is essential to separate humanitarian aid from political considerations and work towards a resolution that not only addresses the needs of the affected population but also avoids exacerbating the already catastrophic situation.

By upholding the principles of impartiality and prioritizing the well-being of civilians, we can contribute to a more just response to the complex challenges faced by the Palestinian people.

ACT Palestine Forum statement on the violence in the Gaza Strip

The ACT Palestine Forum has issued the following statement regarding the escalating violence on the Gaza Strip. The statement can be downloaded here.

We at the ACT Palestine Forum feel deeply concerned and distressed after a day full of escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and its surrounding area. The resulting potential for major escalation throughout all of Palestine and Israel is extremely likely. The ACT Palestine Forum extends its heartfelt empathy and concern to all affected innocent civilians and their families, and we lift them up in prayer during these challenging and uncertain times.

The current situation demands our critical attention. As a local forum deeply committed to promoting the rights and well-being of the Palestinian people, we recognize the urgent need to respond efficiently and effectively to the crisis in Gaza. We have been in close coordination and communication with ACT Secretariat and with our dedicated colleagues on the ground in Gaza to assess the immediate needs and ensure that our response is timely and impactful.

Assessing the immediate needs on the ground is an exceptional challenge due to the current situation. We are currently collecting data that will inform our plans as a forum and as ACT Alliance to provide critical needed assistance to those affected by the war.

Our response efforts will encompass a wide array of vital humanitarian interventions including delivering crucial psychological support to individuals wrestling with the emotional aftermath of the warfare.

We wish to emphasize the protracted nature of the Gaza Strip’s enduring blockade, which has persisted since 2007, resulting in countless violations upon the basic rights of its population. In response to these distressing circumstances, we not only demand an immediate cessation of this blockade but also strongly advocate for the establishment of a fair and enduring peace that will secure the restoration of these essential rights to all people.

Furthermore, as members of the ACT Palestine Forum, we are in strong agreement in denouncing the violation of sacred sites, especially Al Aqsa Mosque and ongoing harassment faced by Christian sites and pilgrims. We acknowledge the significance of safeguarding and upholding the sanctity of these locations. Additionally, we sincerely appeal to the international community to stand with us in our endeavors to address the root causes of the conflict and uphold the principles of international humanitarian law.

As members of the ACT Palestine Forum, we strongly call for an immediate and peaceful resolution to this conflict. Our unconditional commitment is to ensure the well-being and fundamental rights of all individuals involved.

ACT Honduras Forum condemns attack on environmental and human rights defender

The ACT Honduras Forum issued a statement condemning the attack on José Ramiro Lara from ASONOG, the Forum Coordinator, on September 15.  Ramiro Lara had been working with a community in the “La Hondura” micro-watershed, denouncing the degradation of the forest which has in turn contributed to a water crisis in the region.  He and his family were targeted and attacked.  Fortunately, they survived the attack.

The Forum is calling on the Honduran government to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators. “We urge the government of Honduras to conduct a thorough investigation into the attack against José Ramiro Lara and to ensure that both the material and intellectual perpetrators are held accountable,” the statement reads.

The full statement in Spanish and English can be found here.

ACT Alliance calls for an immediate lift of the blockade of the Lachin corridor in Nagorno-Karabakh and adherence to humanitarian principles

In the face of a growing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), ACT Alliance expresses deep concern with the blockage imposed by Azerbaijani authorities to block the Lachin corridor, the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, precipitating a humanitarian crisis.  

Over the last seven months, the blockade has severely impacted the lives of the people in the region, especially the most vulnerable.  Some 120,000 ethnic Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, including 30,000 children, are suffering from severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel. In addition, this crisis is affecting their ability to access medical care and life-saving services.   

On 25 February, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Azerbaijan to ensure free movement of all persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin corridor in both directions.    

ACT Alliance is concerned by Azerbaijan’s lack of observance of its ethical obligations and humanitarian principles and urges the Azerbaijani government to end human suffering, giving particular attention to the most vulnerable. Blocking humanitarian aid should not be used as a strategy to resolve a conflict or other disputes.  

ACT Alliance calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately lift the blockade of the Lachin corridor and allow for unhindered and safe passage of civilians and goods along the corridor, as well as guarantee unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international law and the order of the ICJ.  

ACT Alliance is furthermore calling on the international community to urgently work to end the blockade and to find diplomatic solutions to bring a just peace to the region. 

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria 

ACT Alliance General Secretary  



ACT Palestine Forum statement: APF Condemnation of the escalation of violence at Jenin Refugee Camp

The ACT Palestine Forum issued a statement on July 4, 2023, condemning the escalation of violence at the Jenin Refugee Camp which has left at least 8 people dead and 50 injured.  

“We emphasize that the protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law should be paramount in any conflict,” the statement reads.  “The excessive use of force against civilians, including children and the elderly is deeply concerning and unacceptable.”

The ACT Palestine forum “call[s] the international community and related parties, including the United Nations, regional and international organizations to react immediately without delay to address the situation and for immediate cessation of hostilities that ensure the safety of all civilians including those living in refugee camps and its surrounding.”

Read the full statement here.

ACT Syria Forum sends message to Brussels Conference

In an effort to ensure continued international support for Syrian refugees and their host communities, the European Union is hosting the seventh Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region‘ 14 and 15 June 2023. The Brussels Conference aims at reasserting the international community’s commitment towards Syrians.  It will provide a unique platform for dialogue with civil society.

The ACT Syria Forum has submitted a statement to the conference calling for:

  • Humanitarian exemptions which extend beyond the earthquake response and are clear, open-ended and harmonized between jurisdictions; 
  • A comprehensive revision of the sanctions’ framework from a legal perspective, in regard to the International Law;
  • A sincere analysis of the sanction’s intended, unintended, and counterproductive impacts on the population of Syria from a humanitarian perspective; and 
  • Support for national and international organizations in engaging in interventions focusing on re-establishing the access to essential infrastructures to respond to the basic needs of the population on a sustainable manner. 

All the sessions of the Conference will be live-streamed here.

Read the ACT Syria Forum statement here.

ACT El Salvador Forum supports request for precautionary measures before the IACHR for Ciudad Valle el Ángel Urban Development Project



The ACT Alliance El Salvador Forum backs and supports the Water Forum and the Salvemos Valle El Ángel Collective, communities, and rural water boards in their request for preventative measures against the Salvadoran State for failing to protect the human rights to a healthy environment, water, life, personal integrity, and others before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). 

Due to the illegality of the Ciudad Valle El Ángel urban development project and others in the entire northern fringe of the San Salvador Volcano and the seriousness of the damage caused by these projects to the environment and to the communities that reside there, the Churches and member organizations of the El Salvador Forum of the ACT Alliance have carried out prophetic, legal and political actions before the different instances that make up the Salvadoran legal system, with the purpose of announcing, alerting, denouncing and, finally, protecting the aquifers of the Chacalapa River, Valle El Ángel , Rio San Antonio and del Playón in San Juan Opico.  

To date, legal-political actions have been carried out in instances such as the Environmental Chamber, investigation notices before the Attorney General, complaints before the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), letters to the Council of Mayors of the Metropolitan Area of San Salvador (COAMSS), complaints to the Municipalities of Nejapa, Apopa, Quezaltepeque, San Juan Opico; letters to the National Administration of Aqueducts and Sewers (ANDA), unconstitutionality claims and writ of protection filed by El Foro del Agua and El Colectivo Salvemos Valle El Ángel before the Constitutional Chamber, among others. 

The El Salvador Forum and its member organizations condemn that the result of these actions has been favorable to business and economic groups and negative for the interests of the vulnerable population, particularly, considering that even though the request for amparo was admitted, the constitutional court did not decree the precautionary measures that the communities requested. An example of this was the resolution of November 5, 2021, issued by the Constitutional Chamber, where it notified the organizations of the admission of the amparo claim, favoring large extractive urban planning companies, so that they could continue with the work of their projects. 

As the El Salvador Forum, we accompany and support the request for precautionary measures that the Water Forum and the Salvemos Valle El Ángel Collective have presented to the IACHR, a request that has a deeply human, Christian and citizen character, but above all of maximum urgency given the situation of irreparable damage due to the progress of various projects carried out in the territory, such as: 1. Ciudad Valle el Ángel urban project; 2. Valle Dulce urban project; 3. Project Center for Adoration of the Virgin of Fatima; 4. Paseo del Prado Urban Project -Phase III; 5. Expansion of Integration Plaza; and 6. Roundabout integration overpass. 

The El Salvador Forum of the ACT Alliance requests that the environmental permits for the six projects listed in this statement be suspended. It also pledges to keep spreading the good news and condemning actions that harm families’ livelihoods, agro-industrial activities, agriculturally productive soils, and the replenishment of aquifers that are essential to life.

Click here for statement in Spanish and English

ACT Palestine Forum statement: Calling that Christians Have Unimpeded Access to Jerusalem During Easter Celebrations

The ACT Alliance is asking all people of good will to pray and act in solidarity with people in the Holy Land who will be seeking access to holy sites in Jerusalem during Easter and Ramadan time to ensure that freedom of worship is protected.

During the Holy Fire Saturday celebrations, tradition has always been that Christians- from all denominations- gather on the Orthodox Patriarchate’s rooftop. Once the light is out from the empty tomb, Christians share it from each other’s candles, and the light is taken to their homes and other towns. The light is also taken abroad to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Greece- to name a few countries.

The 2022 Holy Fire Saturday celebrations witnessed the most unprecedented restrictions since the occupation began in 1967. Israeli police sealed off the Christian Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City and prevented access to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Orthodox Patriarchate. Hundreds of police officers manned no less than 15 checkpoints inside a radius of 500 meters. Clergy were not respected and had difficulty accessing the Old City, Coptic Christians from Egypt and other pilgrims were the subject of targeted harassment at the Jaffa Gate area, and local community members were beaten up at the checkpoints.

Ahead of the 2022 celebrations, Israeli police announced that the numbers will be limited to 1000 worshipers inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and 500 on the Orthodox Patriarchate’s rooftop. The Patriarchate refused these measures, since the usual number of participants is ten to eleven thousand people. The Patriarchate issued a statement calling on the faithful to come to Jerusalem’s Old City, and not to succumb to fear and intimidation by the police.

The 2022 violence and restrictions by Israeli police drew strong reactions worldwide. The World Council of Churches, as well as the local Heads of Churches, issued solidarity statements and called for respect of the status quo and religious freedom in Jerusalem. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres issued a statement emphasizing the need to “protect and respect the status quo in the holy sites.” Eight Members of Congress sent a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, asking the Biden Administration to protect religious freedom and Christian presence in Jerusalem.

The police had announced a weak excuse ahead of the Holy Fire Saturday celebrations, that the aim was to control the numbers for safety purposes. Throughout history, the only incident due to crowds inside the Church of the Holy Sepulture happened in 1834. Before the 1967 occupation, Christians would arrive by private cars from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Moreover, the Jordanians used to deploy a small number of security officers, and the celebrations went on peacefully and joyfully.

During the week before, the 2022 Latin Palm Sunday procession was stopped suddenly by Israeli police, as the celebrants were on their way to the Christian Quarter, and in what amounted to yet another violation of Jerusalem’s historical and religious status quo. The road was closed as the scout groups and the faithful were carrying their palms, chanting their hymns, and praying while they prepared to enter Jerusalem. The faithful tried to reason with the police, but they were kept waiting for nearly one hour until the police decided to reopen the road.

We call for the protection of the rights of Christians – irrespective of denomination – to exercise religious rituals in Jerusalem freely, and that Christians from the West Bank and Gaza have unimpeded access to the city. Orthodox Holy Fire Saturday will be on 15 April 2023.  We urge the Government of Israel not to impose checkpoints, and that the police refrain from using violence against Christian worshipers and clergy. Moreover, Muslim rights must be respected in terms of unimpeded access to Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan.

Download a PDF version of the statement.

Declaración de la ACT Alianza: Hacia una Acción Conjunta: Migración y Desplazamiento en América Latina y el Caribe

Los días 19, 20, 21, 22 y 23 de febrero, en la ciudad de Bogotá, Colombia, tuvo lugar el encuentro: “Hacia una Acción Conjunta: Migración y Desplazamiento en América Latina y el Caribe”, en el cual participaron representantes de los foros provenientes de los 15 países donde la Alianza ACT tiene presencia en la región, junto con miembros de los Estados Unidos, aliados estratégicos, la Secretaría Regional y la coordinadora del Programa de Justicia de Género de la Alianza ACT. Además, el gerente del Programa de Migración y Movilidad Humana acompañó el evento de manera virtual.

Durante el encuentro se lograron unos importantes primeros compromisos para robustecer el accionar conjunto a nivel regional. En este sentido, “como actores religiosos y organizaciones basadas en la fe, reafirmamos nuestra voluntad de actuar como alianza en un marco de cooperación regional con estrategias comunes para el acompañamiento, protección y promoción de derechos de las personas desplazadas, migrantes, refugiadas, solicitantes de asilo y apátridas en América Latina y el Caribe”.

Además, los miembros y aliados coinciden en la preocupación sobre una crisis de carácter regional y continental que pone en riesgo los derechos humanos de las personas en situación de movilidad humana: “Expresamos nuestra preocupación por las crecientes situaciones de violencia y crisis en la región y por las medidas restrictivas en materia de derechos…” llamando a los estados de la región a abstenerse de medidas que pongan en riesgo o vulneren derechos.

  • Conscientes de que este es un primer paso, apostamos al robustecimiento de la Alianza ACT para Latinoamérica y el Caribe amplificando las voces de las personas en movilidad y la de nuestros miembros, desarrollando nuestras fortalezas y avanzando hacia el cambio que queremos ver en el mundo”.
Lea el comunicado aquí (SP EN)

ACT joins 34 other agencies in demanding unfettered access and massive scale-up of humanitarian response in Syria

ACT member MECC (the Middle East Council of Churches) is responding to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey on Feb 6, 2023. MECC is providing mattresses and blankets, as well as hot meals, to affected families, and is working to secure additional supplies to meet the needs. Photo: MECC

ACT Alliance is one of 35 national Syrian NGOs and international NGOs to release a statement today calling for “an urgent scaleup in support and for immediate action to be taken to secure humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the earthquake in Syria.”

The statement notes that only 5% of the affected areas in northwestern Syria (NWS) were reached by humanitarian teams in the early days, leading to potential survivors under the rubble not being reached in 95% of the region. 

“Conscious that this tragedy has impacted the whole humanitarian response, we express our deep admiration and support to the humanitarian organizations, volunteers and all humanitarian workers on the ground who are shouldering the response while being affected themselves,” the statement reads.  Today, ACT heard that one partner agency is working on the response while over 33% of its staff were directly impacted, with many living in cars or out in the open for fear that their homes will collapse in the more than 500 aftershocks since the massive quake on February 6, 2023.

“The earthquake has brought new suffering, increased the number of people in need, exacerbated existing needs, and hampered the ongoing response. We see new unaccompanied children, collective shelters and existing camps are now full of people with no food, no water, no blankets, no heating options. What is needed is more assistance, more access, and more funding. Redirecting existing resources and funding from other parts of Syria is NOT the solution,” the NGOs state.

Photo: MECC

The statement concludes, “NGOs call for the international community to stay above politics, put humanitarian principles at the center and move forward an urgent and immediate scaleup of the humanitarian support to relieve the suffering of the affected populations and support those helping them.”

Read the full statement here.