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NewsProtecting humanitarians 20 years after deadly Baghdad attack, amid rising risks

Protecting humanitarians 20 years after deadly Baghdad attack, amid rising risks

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expertise, and accountability at its core,” they added.  

“As a result, in 2005, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, or UNDSS, was created, mandated to lead a collective approach to UN security.”

© UNOCHA/Matteo Minasi

Not a target

The UN officials highlighted the need for humanitarians to be able to safely access affected populations, saying that “security approaches must listen to and be attuned to local dynamics and sensitivities.”

They called for greater international support, including to educate warring parties on their obligations to respect, protect and provide support to aid workers.

“It means demanding, clearly and unequivocally, an end to direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians, non-combatants, and humanitarian workers during conflicts in breach of international humanitarian law,” they said.  

“And it requires us to challenge the disinformation and misinformation that are increasingly putting them at risk of attack and undermining humanitarian operations.”

Honouring fallen colleagues

The op-ed also underscored the need to continue high-level diplomacy that supports humanitarian operations and access, especially in heavy conflict, as “recent experience shows that genuine agreements are possible, even when peace seems a distant possibility”.

One example was the evacuation of hundreds of civilians from the Azovstal Steel Plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol last year.

The development was the result of a negotiated pause in the fighting to create a humanitarian corridor for a joint mission by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“As we reflect on the gains of the past 20 years and how we can build on them to address the challenges of the next 20, we remain resolute in our determination to protect the communities we serve, while also protecting our staff,” the officials said.

“This is how we can best honour the memory of those who lost their lives in the Canal Hotel bombing and reaffirm our joint commitment to the noble cause they served.”

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