World Humanitarian Day: EU advocates safety of aid workers

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August 20, 2018

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EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini

While acknowledging that almost 4,400 humanitarian workers have been victims of major attacks over the past two decades with over one-third of them killed, the European Union has noted that World Humanitarian Day (August 19th) is an opportunity to honour dedicated humanitarians and to advocate for their safety and security.

A joint statement made by the EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides noted that on the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, the European Union pays tribute to the commitment of aid workers who risk their lives to deliver humanitarian aid worldwide.

The statement noted that the unequivocal respect of international law, the safety and security of humanitarian workers and their unfettered access to those in need are a major concern for the European Union.

 “Civilians often pay the highest price in conflict, and attacks, including against aid workers, continue to happen. Over the past year, from Afghanistan to Nigeria and from the Central African Republic to Yemen, these attacks have claimed the lives of civilians and humanitarian workers. These acts of violence are a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law. Saving lives should not cost lives.”

It reiterated that all parties to conflicts have an obligation under International Humanitarian Law to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers, and to facilitate unhindered and sustained humanitarian access, so that assistance can reach all people in need.

“The EU is a world leader in humanitarian assistance. Promoting principled humanitarian aid and respect for International Humanitarian Law remains at the core of our international engagement.”