Abuja – The European Union (EU) said on Wednesday that 329 aid workers were victims of violent attacks in 2014 even as declared its committed to protecting humanitarian workers.
In a statement issued in Brussels to commemorate World Humanitarian Day 2015, EU said attacks on humanitarian personnel had become alarming.
The World Humanitarian Day is commemorated on Aug. 19 in remembrance of the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003.
Twenty-two humanitarians lost their lives in the attack.
“It is a day to honour the brave men and women who risk their lives while they provide help to people who suffer and to draw attention to increasing dangers faced by humanitarian workers” , EU said.
The EU, however, said there was a year-on-year reduction on the attacks on aid workers from 2013 to 2014.
“In 2014, 329 aid workers were victims of violent attacks, more than one third of whom were killed.
“National humanitarians are most at risk; in 2014, the majority of the victims of attacks were men and women from the affected countries.
“Whilst there was a year-on-year reduction of attacks on aid workers from 2013 to 2014, this does not mean that the world has become a safer place”, it said.
EU said attacks against humanitarian personnel were a violation of international humanitarian law, which was binding on all state and non-state actors in conflicts.
“European solidarity has the overwhelming support of the citizens.
“Nine out of 10 Europeans say that it is important that the EU funds humanitarian aid according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey,” EU said.
It said on May 23 and 24 2016, the humanitarian community would meet in Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit.
It said the summit would be a historic opportunity to find ways to better tackle humanitarian needs in a fast-changing world.
“It will be the occasion to increase effectiveness of humanitarian work and to better manage risks for humanitarian workers.
“It is also an occasion to reaffirm the European Union’s commitment to alleviate human suffering and to stand with the people affected by conflicts and crises across the world.
“As the world’s leading humanitarian donor, the EU has a decisive role to play,” EU said. (NAN)