Today, on August 19, is World Humanitarian Day.
World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to mobilize people to advocate for a more humane world. Thousands of people are risking their lives to save the lives of others.
On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, issued a statement today.
“World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity for us to pause and reflect and to remember those who have been injured or even lost their lives in their efforts to help people in need.
In the past months, reports have reached us all too frequently, particularly from Syria and Yemen, that aid workers such as doctors and medical workers have fallen victim to attacks. I condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms. The fundamental principles of international humanitarian law are non-negotiable and must be respected by all parties to conflicts. This is the only way to allow humanitarian aid workers to help those in need.
The work done by humanitarian aid workers is more important than ever. More than 65 million people have been forced to flee their homes around the world; the same number again are in need of humanitarian aid for other reasons, including food shortages, lack of drinking water and destroyed infrastructure. These are sad records indeed. As the third-largest donor of humanitarian aid, Germany is making a major contribution to supporting people in need around the world. We have increased our commitment considerably once again. Moreover, we are working to encourage other donors to increase the level of their commitments.
At the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May, we managed to lay important foundations for the future of humanitarian aid. These include a commitment to humanitarian principles and efforts to further the development of humanitarian aid. The increased humanitarian need must be met by sufficient funds, and involving local partners is important in order to ensure that aid measures are successful. We want to improve planning of humanitarian aid in order to optimise our response to challenges such as the El Niño phenomenon. Germany has been committed to the World Summit the outset and is at the forefront of efforts to implement innovations in the area of humanitarian aid.”
Attacks on humanitarian aid workers and violations of international humanitarian law continued to increase in the past year. 1451 humanitarian workers were killed since 1997.