Press release European Commission
On this year's World Humanitarian Day, the European Union pays tribute to the commitment of those who risk their lives to deliver humanitarian aid worldwide, as the risk humanitarian workers face continues to increase.
The unequivocal respect of international law, the safety and security of humanitarian workers and their unfettered access to those in need are a major concern for the EU. 2019 is also a key year for International Humanitarian Law, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, made the following statement:
Violations of International Humanitarian Law continue to be one of the most critical challenges for the protection of civilians, as well as the protection of humanitarian and medical workers. Violence against humanitarian workers affects civilians and prevents millions of people from receiving life-saving assistance. Saving lives should not cost lives. Around 400 humanitarian workers have been victims of major attacks in 2018, making it the second worst year in history. Over one third of them were killed and the other third was kidnapped. World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to honour these dedicated humanitarians, and to advocate for their safety and security. Humanity, independence, neutrality and impartiality are the principles on which humanitarian aid is grounded. These should protect relief workers, enabling them to operate freely. The EU and its Members States are the world leader in humanitarian assistance. Promoting principled humanitarian aid and respect for International Humanitarian Law remains at the core of our international engagement.