World 'continues to be shaken by violent conflicts,' EU marks World Humanitarian Day

World 'continues to be shaken by violent conflicts,' EU marks World Humanitarian Day
A staff from NRC Shelter team speaking with a young boy in Pissila camp, Burkina Faso. Credit: Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC

This year, 40 humanitarians have been killed, 136 kidnapped, and 68 wounded while working on the frontline to reduce human suffering. Friday marks World Humanitarian Day, an occasion to honour these people.

A most recent act against these workers, Israeli Forces broke into, searched and sealed the offices of seven Palestinian humanitarian organisations in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, which “affect all institutions working to promote human rights and development and are delivering assistance."

This resulted in UN agencies and other partners urging Israel to allow these organisations to continue their work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

On the occasion of the international day, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell also stressed that medical personnel and aid workers must be always protected and never targeted.

Skyrocketing humanitarian needs

Last year, 235 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, the highest number recorded in decades. This figure has significantly increased this year and is likely to exceed the initial forecast of 274 million, as the world has been heavily shaken by violent conflicts and destructive natural disasters that have pushed even more local communities into humanitarian crises.

Borrell stressed that while all parties to any conflict "must respect and follow International Humanitarian Law," and the rules of law are clear, there have been countless violations of International Humanitarian Law this year as "warring parties neglect civilians getting caught in the crossfire," adding that some of the most gruesome ones took place right at the EU's border.

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While the Russian invasion has not only led to skyrocketing humanitarian needs in Ukraine, it also had dramatic effects across the world. As millions of tonnes of grain are blocked in Ukraine, the war has worsened an already serious global food crisis.

As the people affected most by the soaring prices and food shortages are also the ones whose access to food has already been hampered by conflicts, climate change and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, further exacerbating an existing crisis.

World Humanitarian Day commemorates the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, when 22 humanitarian workers lost their lives.

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