Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:45 pm
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on Saturday condemned attacks on civilians during crises globally, especially aid workers providing helps to victims of conflicts, saying the attacks were targeted.
Guterres, in his message on World Humanitarian Day, regretted that 65 million civilians were currently uprooted from their homes as a result of crises.
According to him, armed conflicts are tearing communities and countries apart, forcing record numbers of people from their homes to rely on humanitarian aid for their survival and protection.
The UN chief said “every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict.
“On this day, we also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need.
“We pay tribute to the government employees, members of civil society and representatives of international organizations and agencies who risk their lives to provide humanitarian aid and protection.
“In spite of our efforts, civilians, including medical and humanitarian workers, continue to bear the brunt of intense conflicts around the world.
“Hospitals and supplies are attacked, looted and obstructed by fighting parties. In cities like Juba and Aleppo, housing, markets, schools and vital civilian infrastructure have been destroyed.”
Guterres stressed that crises had turned many countries into an incubator for lethal epidemics that have killed thousands of 9,000 people while health services and water and sanitation infrastructure were collapsing under the strain.
“In Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and elsewhere, thousands of women and girls urgently need protection, support and treatment for traumatic sexual violence and abuse.
“The result of these crises is the record number of people – more than 65 million – forced to flee their homes. No one is winning these wars. We are all losing,” he said.
This year, on World Humanitarian Day, he said the UN and partners were calling on all global leaders to do everything in their power to protect people caught up in conflict.
“Let the world know, `civilians are not a target’.
“I invite you to stand with us in solidarity with civilians in conflict, and with the health and aid workers who risk their lives to help them. Get involved with our online campaign.
“On World Humanitarian Day, let us commit to doing everything in our power to protect women, girls, men and boys in the line of fire, and to give them hope of a better future,” the UN scribe urged.
The World Humanitarian Day is observed annually on Aug. 19, to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and rally support for people affected by crises worldwide.
It was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the date of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, in which 22 staff were killed.
This year, humanitarian partners are coming together under the #NotATarget Campaign to highlight the need to protect civilians caught in conflicts, including humanitarian and medical workers.