United Nations: Aid workers around the world are working in increasingly dangerous and unstable situations and are being killed, injured, kidnapped and harassed on a daily basis, a UN official warned.
Addressing a commemorative event for World Humanitarian Day, Ramesh Rajasingham, senior official of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said more than 460 aid workers were victims of attacks last year and more than 140 of them died, reports Xinhua news agency.
He said 98 per cent of these victims were national aid workers, who carry most of the risk to deliver life-saving assistance.
“Sadly, this marks the highest number of aid worker fatalities recorded since 2013,” he said, adding that so far this year, almost 170 aid workers have been attacked, leading to 44 fatalities.
Tatiana Valovaya, director-general of the UN Office in Geneva, said at the event that aid workers across the world have been targeted for what they do and this is unacceptable.
“The world is currently facing multiple and interconnected challenges and crises — violent conflicts, devastating climate change, widespread terrorism, rising tensions between nuclear-armed and other states, the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing inequalities, global mistrust, the digital divide, and lawlessness in cyberspace.
“These and other emerging challenges are only going to become more complex in the coming years. These challenges create more humanitarian needs; therefore, they will require more people to help,” she added.
On August 19, 2003, a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Five years later, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution designating the date as World Humanitarian Day.