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2023 set to become another year of high numbers of aid worker casualties: UN

Published 18-08-2023, 03:56 pm
© Reuters.  2023 set to become another year of high numbers of aid worker casualties: UN

United Nations, Aug 18 (IANS) Ahead of World Humanitarian Day on August 19, the UN has warned that 2023 is set to become another year of high numbers of aid worker casualties.So far this year, 62 humanitarian workers have been killed in crises around the world, 84 were injured and 34 kidnapped, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, citing provisional data from the Aid Worker Security Database research team at Humanitarian Outcomes.

Last year’s annual death toll had reached 116.

South Sudan has ranked highest in insecurity for several consecutive years. Forty attacks on aid workers and 22 fatalities have been reported as of this week.

Sudan is a close second, with 17 attacks on humanitarians and 19 fatalities reported so far this year.

This toll surpasses numbers not seen since the height of the Darfur conflict between 2006 and 2009.

Other aid worker casualties have been recorded in the Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia and Ukraine.

Last year, 444 aid workers were attacked. The previous year, 460 humanitarians were attacked, resulting in 141 deaths.

This year’s World Humanitarian Day also marks 20 years since the 2003 suicide bomb attack on the UN headquarters in the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 UN staff.

Some 150 more people -- local and international aid workers helping to reconstruct Iraq -- were also injured on that dark day.

“World Humanitarian Day and the Canal Hotel bombing will always be an occasion of mixed and still raw emotions for me and many others,” said the UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths.

“Every year, nearly six times more aid workers are killed in the line of duty than were killed on that dark day in Baghdad, and they are overwhelmingly local aid workers. Impunity for these crimes is a scar on our collective conscience. It is time we walk the talk on upholding international humanitarian law and tackle impunity for violations.”

--IANS

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