Statement by Ramesh Rajasingham, Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, on World Humanitarian Day

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Gaziantep, 19 August 2018

Each year on August 19th, World Humanitarian Day pays tribute to humanitarian workers around the world who risk their lives each day in the service of millions of people caught up in crisis.

In Syria, humanitarian workers continue to pay a heavy price while helping vulnerable populations. Since the start of the crisis in March 2011, hundreds of humanitarian workers and health workers have been killed in the course of their duty.

Humanitarians work in accordance with the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, and impartiality.

As such, they should never be targeted. In Syria, there are over 18,500 Syrian aid workers and volunteers. One third of these are women who work timelessly to help address the needs of 13 million women, children and men in Syria in need.

World Humanitarian Day marks the tragedy of the Canal Hotel Bombing in Baghdad, Iraq, on 19 August 2003, when 22 of our humanitarian colleagues were killed. That day has since become a pivotal point in realizing the need to mark the immense contributions that humanitarians make around the world. On this day, we highlight the conditions in which vulnerable people around the world live and call attention to the work of humanitarians and the sacrifices they make to serve others.

This year the tagline is #NotATarget and we use it to call on global leaders to protect civilians in conflict. These civilians include humanitarian workers. This day is the result of a tragic event, and it is critical that we learn from it, and that we move to a future where civilians are protected and safe, and that those who risk their lives to help others can do so in safety and security.

For further information, please contact: Kinan Diab, Communications Officer/ Special Assistant to DRHC, OCHA Turkey, Tel: (+90) 342 211 86 03

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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