STOP IMPUNITY

CALL FOR ACTION FOR SAFEGUARDING OF HUMANITARIAN SPACE AND ENDING IMPUNITY FOR ATTACKS AGAINST HUMANITARIANS

The past decades have seen a drastic increase in the number of people impacted by humanitarian crises. In 2020 alone, a staggering 168 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance around the world, mainly as a consequence of armed conflict. Humanitarian aid workers play an indispensable role in meeting the basic needs of vulnerable populations, going the last mile to reach, help and protect those most in need. In accordance with international humanitarian law (IHL), humanitarian relief personnel must be respected and protected.

Against this backdrop stands the reality of an ever-shrinking humanitarian space, fueled by a general erosion of respect for International Humanitarian Law, growing restrictions imposed by many states on humanitarian action, and increased violence against humanitarians.

 

Since the attack against the United Nations in Baghdad on August 19th 2003, a date now marked by World Humanitarian Day, dedicated to commemorating humanitarian aid workers killed and injured in the course of their work, over 5,000 national and international humanitarian aid workers have been victims of violence, of whom over 1,800 have been killed. Last year was the deadliest year on record for humanitarians, with 484 humanitarian aid workers victims of major attacks, of whom 124 died, 234 were wounded and 124 kidnapped. This year, this grim trend has continued, as illustrated most recently by tragic killings of humanitarian aid workers in a number of countries.

As humanitarians, we believe it is our responsibility and privilege to continue supporting those most in need in crisis situations. In doing so, we must abide by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. However, going to the last mile to be in proximity with, provide vital support to and protect the most vulnerable is becoming increasingly challenging, hindering principled humanitarian action.

Humanitarian organizations are taking, and will continue to take all possible measures to protect their staff and operations in these ever more difficult contexts by adapting their operational and risk mitigation strategies, and striving to abide by humanitarian principles. However, we believe that more can and must urgently be done by the international community to strengthen the international protection framework for all humanitarian workers. We need to move from words to action to end impunity for attacks against humanitarians.

To this end, we call on the Security Council of the United Nations to create a reporting, monitoring and investigation mechanism that – while preserving humanitarian space – would make attacks against humanitarians a systematic trigger for action aimed at enhancing judicial cooperation so as to bring perpetrators to justice and deterring future attacks.

Ultimately, we strongly believe attacks against humanitarians are also an affront against the values that are the commonwealth of humanity that we must all protect.

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Since the attack against the United Nations in Baghdad on August 19th 2003 over 5,000 national and international humanitarian aid workers have been victims of violence, of whom over 1,800 have been killed. Last year was the deadliest year on record for humanitarians, with 484 humanitarian aid workers victims of major attacks, of whom 124 died, 234 were wounded and 124 kidnapped.

In the face of this dramatic increase in attacks against humanitarian personnel and the impunity that too often prevails for their perpetrators, it is essential to improve prevention by increasing the political cost for perpetrators of attacks against humanitarians (including States) through the accurate establishment of facts, increased visibility for each attack, and the activation of investigation mechanisms and other preventive measures; and to help ensure justice is done through greater judicial cooperation between States, improved investigation capacity, and the strengthening of States' legislative frameworks.

This is to be done at all levels and with all duty bearers. The 10 September Call for Action is part of this broader drive, pushing for such measures to be adopted at Security Council level in a manner that does not weaken humanitarian space in any way, not impede action based on humanitarian principles, and remains consistent with international law, the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid of 2007 and the Franco-German Call for Action on Humanitarian Aid of 2019.

Given the challenging dynamics at the Security Council at the current time, it is suggested, as a first step, to work towards the organization of an Arria formula meeting in the first half of 2021 on the theme of the fight against impunity and the prevention of attacks, in order to socialize and test the ground with Member States on the elements of a possible new resolution.

In parallel, it is important for humanitarian actors to work together to identify and push other measures that could help reinforce protection for civilians and humanitarian aid workers at global, European and national level.

NGO LIST OF SIGNATORIES

63 organisations have signed up to the Call for Action:

 

 

ACTED

Ayuda en Accion

CESVI - Cooperazione e sviluppo

Concern Worldwide

Helvetas Swis Intercooperation

HIVOS - Humanistisch Instituut voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking

IMPACT

NRC - Norwegian Refugee Council

PIN - People in Need

Welthungerhilfe

Misean Cara 

FONAHD RDC - Forum des Organisations Nationales Humanitaires et de Développement

Titi Foundation South Sudan

Humanitarian Aid International - India

GOAL

Ohaha Family Foundation 

Engineering Association for Development & Environment-EADE 

Shoulder for Gender Support and Development Initiative 

Children's Voice DRC 

Läkarmissionen

Mission East

La Chaîne de l'Espoir

International Aid Services (IAS) Niger

We Love Sousse

DRC - Danish Refugee Council

Malteser International 

JRS - Jesuit Refugee Service

WeWorld-GVC 

International Catholic Migration Commission 

Tearfund 

Anna Lindh Network - Palestine 

Lutheran World Federation (LWF)

Trocaire

Polish Medical Mission 

Sousse Demain Association

CEFE NET Sri Lanka

PGVS India - Poorvanchal Gramon Vikash Sansthan

ONG Adkoul - Niger

SOS-Civisme-Niger 

ONG Akarass- Niger

AREN - Association pour la Redynamisation de l'Elevage au Niger

ADRA International (Adventist Development and Relief Agency International)

ONG GADER (Groupe d'Action pour le Développement Rural)

Integrated Volunteers Network (IVN), Delhi

Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) -Germany 

Johanniter International Assistance 

Human Health Aid Burundi

Food for the Hungry Philippines 

Futureinourhands - Sri Lanka

Jireh Doo Foundation and NINGONET

Verité Research

Secours Islamique France

Solidarités International 

ADESEN-NAFA

Handicap International

IDEAS (Island Development and Environmental Awareness Society) - Maldives

Foundation for Rural Development (FRD) - Pakistan

COOPI - Cooperazione Internazionale

ATAC (Association Tunisienne d'Action Culturelle)

Mothercare Initiative

Actionaid Haïti

DCA - DanChurchAid

Première Urgence Internationale

Act Alliance

Coordination Sud

HELP US END IMPUNITY FOR ATTACKS AGAINST HUMANITARIANS