The European Union is committed to protecting humanitarian workers and supports World Humanitarian Day every year on 19 August. Today marks the day in 2003 when 22 humanitarians lost their lives in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management has made the following statement:
"Saving lives should not cost lives. This is why on World Humanitarian Day we commemorate the brave women and men who died whilst in humanitarian service. Today, we honour humanitarian workers who continue to risk their lives as they help people who suffer.
Their selfless efforts are an inspiration to us all. Humanitarian crises are more devastating than ever before with an increase in the number of natural disasters and conflicts. The needs of victims are real and lives are in danger.
Ongoing conflicts and insecurity hamper the delivery of humanitarian aid. This prevents millions of people from receiving life-saving assistance. Unfortunately there's an alarming trend of increased violence against aid workers and violations of International Humanitarian Law. In 2014, over 300 aid workers were attacked, kidnapped or killed."
The European Union as a whole has provided humanitarian aid for more than 40 years and is, together with its Member States, today the world's largest donor of humanitarian aid.
For further information
MEMO: The European Union Supports Humanitarian Action
Video: World Humanitarian Day - Statement by EU Commissioner Christos Stylianides:
Website of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO):
Website of the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides: