Marking World Humanitarian Day, UN urges protection for civilians in armed conflict
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 19-Aug-2017
New York, August 19: Civilians in conflict are not a target, stressed UN top officials at a special event at World Humanitarian Day which honours aid workers and pays homage to the ones who were killed while they were serving, also drawing attention to the million people who live in the war zones.
“For the millions of people caught in conflict, struggling to find food, water, and safe shelter; who have been driven from their homes with little hope of return; whose schools have been bombed; and who await life-saving medical care – we cannot afford to fail,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, urging each person and country to stand in solidarity with civilians in conflict.
“Last year, 288 aid workers were targeted in 158 attacks. In the past three months alone, relief workers have been shelled and shot at, kidnapped and killed in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria,” he said. “This is blatantly unacceptable.”
Standing at headquarters in New York alongside UN aid workers and staff who lost colleagues in war zones, the Secretary-General lent his support to the #NotATarget,” campaign, which highlights the need to protect civilians caught in conflict, including humanitarian and medical workers. With more than 10,500 signatures, the petitioners demand that world leaders do more to protect people trapped in conflicts, with a particular focus on those living in urban areas, children, targets of sexual violence, forcibly displaced people, humanitarian workers and health workers.
The petition will be presented to the Secretary-General during the high-level General Assembly, which opens on 12 September this year.
The UN General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008, selecting the date to coincide with the anniversary of the deadly 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.