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CUPE has called on the Canadian government to urge the Israeli government to temporarily lift its economic sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip territory on humanitarian grounds and that you encourage members of the international community to do the same.

The recent Gaza troubles are evidence of a human rights crisis of huge concern. In a BBC interview, United Nations envoy for Palestine John Dugard said he “was very struck by the sense of hopelessness among the Palestinian people.” He added that this was due to “the crushing effect of human rights violations.”

“The situation in the Gaza Strip is having a huge humanitarian impact,” National President Paul Moist and National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Genereux said in a Feb. 14 letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier.

News reports say health care, municipal services such as water distribution and wastewater treatment are being curtailed due to the rigid sanctions. Fuel and electricity have been cut off.

“Tens of thousands of our members provide these important services to families in Canadian communities, so they can appreciate the harm that is being done by the sanctions at this time,” the letter said. “Therefore, while we acknowledge the political volatility of the situation in the region, we urge the Canadian government to take this action on humanitarian grounds.”