United Nations, International Organisations, World Governments - Protect Aid Workers Now!
We, a global community of serving and former humanitarian aid workers, can no longer remain silent while so many of us are murdered, raped, taken hostage, and attacked with impunity in crisis zones around the world.
This July 2016, a brutal attack by South Sudanese forces targeted aid workers in the Terrain compound in Juba. They were killed, beaten, gang-raped, and threatened with death. Terrified, they begged for protection from UN peacekeeping forces stationed nearby.
Since that time there has been further attacks on aid workers including in Nigeria, Iraq, Burundi, and Syria.
These horrifying events continue to be examples of decades-long pattern of callous negligence and failure to protect civilians, including aid workers, by Member States, The United Nations - including its Peacekeeping Department - and aid organisations.
In the first half of this decade, more than two thousand aid workers were kidnapped, extorted, used as proxy targets, bombed, assaulted, shot or otherwise attacked for doing their jobs: national and international, who deserve equal protection. There is a growing database of incidents of sexual violence within and against the aid community.
The response by the governments, UN, donors, aid recipients and international organisations has been inadequate. A culture of silence and dishonesty has grown around the realities of delivering aid in dangerous places. Justice for crimes against aid workers has not been on the agenda despite the recent commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit. These attacks are in breach of International Humanitarian Law.
We continue to stand with the survivors of these attacks, who exhibit incredible courage despite suffering immense trauma. We stand with the thousands of humanitarian workers and other civilian survivors of violence in crises worldwide.
But words of consolation are no longer enough. It is time to take action.
We are professional aid workers, not martyrs, and we demand the protection and justice we deserve. The people we exist to help deserve and need aid workers who are whole in mind and body, and who can do their job of providing that help in safety. Failure to protect and support those who provide assistance is thus also a dereliction of our collective commitment to the alleviation of humanitarian suffering.
We, the Undersigned International Aid Workers, call on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, donors governments, aid recipients, international and national aid organisations to take the following urgent measures:
- Grant protected legal status to humanitarian aid workers under International Humanitarian Law, and appoint a Special Rapporteur on aid worker protection and well being;
- Adopt a common international Code of Duty of Care for NGOs, UN agencies and Red Cross movement to be signed and adopted internationally; and
- Dedicate more resources and create mandatory safety conditions for aid agencies to operate under an international code of conduct.
#ProtectAidWorkers #BeWellServeWell #NotATarget
Signed by: Fifty Shades of Aid / Report the Abuse / Humanitarian Wellbeing
- UN SG
- Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)
UNSG Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Security Council, World Governments - Protect Aid Workers Now!
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