UNGA president decries violence against aid workers

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United Nations, Aug. 19, 2020 President of the United Nations General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, has decried increasing violence against aid workers especially in conflicts areas.

In a message to mark this year’s World Humanitarian Day, he said the situation had become a major concern for most humanitarian agencies.

“At the same time, compliance with international humanitarian law is deteriorating. In 2019, 483 attacks were committed against aid workers. These are the highest numbers ever recorded,” he said.

Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said the need for humanitarian aid remained huge around the world.

He noted that several humanitarian crises were either ongoing or worsening due to conflicts or natural disasters.

“In 2020, despite the largest-ever funding shortfall, humanitarian workers have contended with COVID-19, as well as a massive spike in humanitarian needs in 63 countries,” he said.

The envoy saluted humanitarian and aid workers who risked their safety to deliver lifesaving support to those in need.

“As the world fights the pandemic, we honour those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service.

“We must use this occasion to reflect on how best to work together to save the world from actions that put all of us at the precipice of devastation.

“Today, we shine a light on all humanitarians who continue to help vulnerable populations in the most extreme circumstances.”

In a similar message, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, paid glowing tributes to humanitarians, describing them as the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

He said: “We honour the work of humanitarians who overcome huge challenges to save and improve the lives of millions of people.

“These real life heroes are doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times to help women, men and children whose lives are upended by crises.

“This year, humanitarian workers are stretched like never before.

“They are responding to the global crisis of COVID-19, and with it the massive increase in humanitarian needs from the fallout of the pandemic.

“They are the unsung heroes of the pandemic response, and they all too often risk their own lives to save the lives of others,” he said.

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