This Saturday the 19th August 2017, the world humanitarian day will be commemorated globally, a day that has been celebrated every 19th August since 2008, 5 years after a terrorist attack hit the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people on 19 August 2003. Every year since then, the humanitarian community has organized global campaigns to commemorate the day, while advocating for the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers, and for the survival, well-being and dignity of the people affected by crises.
This year, emphasis has been laid on protecting the millions of civilians who are often caught in war zones. No one can ever detect a war or a conflict in a mile so they can flee before it consumes them, not even perpetrators can know the magnitude of what they are planning, nor can they systematically plan for the number of people they want kill in a war so they can exclude the innocent civilians. Every day, millions of people, including children are trapped in wars that aren’t of their own making and the world isn’t doing enough to stop their suffering. Like in Syria, millions of people come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down; they are scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being and future – the depth of their suffering is unprecedented.
When you count the thousands of women and girls raped in armed conflicts or the children recruited as soldiers and taken to the front lines, worst still forced to take part in combat roles or suicide bombers; you would wonder what direction the world is taking. It’s important to recognize the brave health and aid workers who risk their lives daily to provide humanitarian aid. But also encourage us all to make an effort towards protecting civilians. We can all do something, first by raising our voices in unison to demand world leaders to do everything in their power to protect the civilians caught in armed conflict. To this effect, a rule must be adopted and respected for parties in armed conflict not to launch attacks against civilians and the civilian infrastructure. For the sake of our humanity, let us all contribute to the protection of civilians #NotATarget