Current Date:

Sunday, 16 December 2018
 

World Humanitarian Day, 19 August: Civilians are not a Target

Every year on 19 August, World Humanitarian Day brings citizens of the world together to rally support for people living in crises and to pay tribute to the aid workers who help them.
Emergencies cause immense suffering for millions of people – usually the world's poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Humanitarian aid workers, including health care workers, strive to provide life-saving assistance and long term rehabilitation to disaster-affected communities, regardless of where they are in the world and without discrimination based on nationality, social group, religion, sex, race or any other factor.
"Health is a fundamental human right, and attacks on health care are a blatant violation of that right." Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.
Health care is under attack
The sanctity of health care, the right to health care, and international humanitarian law are threatened: patients are shot in their hospital beds, medical personnel are menaced or attacked, facilities are bombed, depriving people of urgently needed care, endangering health care providers, undermining health systems and long term public health goals, and contributing to the deterioration in the health and wellbeing of affected populations. 
Essential life-saving health services must be provided to emergency-affected populations unhindered by any form of violence or obstruction
Even one attack on health care is too many
Attacks on health facilities, health workers and ambulances continue with alarming frequency. According to the data systematically collected by WHO through the Surveillance System on Attacks on Health Care, in the first half of 2018, 107 people died following 354 attacks on health facilities or transportation in 5 countries or territories (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syrian Arab Republic, West Bank and Gaza Strip).
Every hospital destroyed and every health worker killed or injured takes health services away from the people who need them most, often taking many years to replace. Stop attacks on health care.