‘Scar on our collective conscience’: 62 aid workers killed so far in 2023 shows high risk, says UN

  • 62 aid workers have been killed so far in 2023.
  • This compares to 116 in 2022.
  • The UN observes World Humanitarian Day on 19 August.

A total of 62 humanitarian aid workers have died this year around the world, the United Nations said on Thursday as it prepared to mark 20 years since a devastating attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

The UN observes World Humanitarian Day on 19 August each year as it remembers the suicide bombing, which claimed 22 lives, including that of Sergio Vieira de Mello, then the UN high commissioner for human rights and the head of the UN mission in that country.

Beside the 62 deaths this year in the world’s conflict zones, another 84 aid workers were wounded and 34 were kidnapped, according to the Aid Worker Security Database, compiled by the consulting firm Humanitarian Outcomes. 

The fatality figure for all of 2022 was 116.

For several years running, South Sudan has been the world’s most dangerous place for aid workers. 

READ | ‘Bodies still lying on the streets or in abandoned homes’: Civilians bearing brunt of Sudan war

As of 10 August, there had been 40 attacks on humanitarian staffers there with 22 lives lost, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Next on the list was Sudan to the north, with 17 attacks on aid workers and 19 deaths so far this year. 

Workers unload a truck from a United Nations aid convoy after entering Syria through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, carrying basic vital necessities for the inhabitants of the northwestern rebel-held areas on the country.

A Palestinian youth rests on bags of aid at the Un

A Palestinian youth rests on bags of aid at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warehouse at the Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza city.

Such high figures had not been seen since the Darfur conflict from 2006 to 2009.

Other countries where humanitarian workers died include the Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia, Ukraine and Yemen.

“The risks we face are beyond human comprehension,” states a report compiled by NGOs including Doctors of the World, Action Against Hunger and Handicap International, with help from the European Union.

Every year more than 90% of the people who die in attacks on aid workers are locals, according to the International NGO Safety Organisation.

This year World Humanitarian Day marks 20 years since the bombing in Baghdad against the Canal Hotel, which was serving as the UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital.

Syrian humanitarian organisations' workers hold si

Syrian humanitarian organisations’ workers hold signs during a demonstration denouncing the failure of the United Nations to provide aid to rebel areas following an earthquake, in Sarmada.

This handout image provided by the UN shows UN Sec

This handout image provided by the UN shows UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivering remarks via video during the Unesco world press freedom event at United Nations headquarters in New York City.

That 2003 blast, carried out amid the chaos of the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, killed 22 people, including the Brazilian Vieira de Mello, and wounded around 150 local and international aid workers.

“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,” he added.

“Impunity for these crimes is a scar on our collective conscience.”

As upheavals around the world have grown, the UN says it is working to help nearly 250 million people living in crisis areas. 

That is 10 times more than in 2003.

Related Posts

Ukraine has told world leaders gathered in London that it expects to secured billions to help rebuild the country.

Ukrainian drone strikes Russia’s Kursk, Zelensky says US business is ready to invest in Ukraine

Ukraine hit an administrative building in Kursk. The railway station was damaged in August. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met US businessmen. A Ukrainian drone strike hit an…

Massive US alligator killed after police find woman's body still in its mouth

Massive US alligator killed after police find woman’s body still in its mouth

An alligator killed a woman in Florida. Authorities killed the 4m animal. The woman’s body was in the animal’s mouth. An alligator was killed as it was…

Philippines navy

‘Our maritime domains’: Philippines slams Chinese barrier in South China Sea

The Philippines accused China of installing a barrier in the South China Sea. The barrier prevents fishermen from accessing the Scarborough Shoal. China claims 90% of the…

Migrants from Venezuela get out of the Rio Grande

El Paso mayor decries ‘broken immigration system’ as city ‘at breaking point’ amid surge in migrants

El Paso is facing a breaking point as migrants cross into the US. Mayor Oscar Leeser says the daily total is 2 000, up from around 350….

'Let's get this done': Biden blames 'extreme Republicans' for threatening US government shutdown

‘Let’s get this done’: Biden blames ‘extreme Republicans’ for threatening US government shutdown

The US government faces a shutdown on 30 September. US President Joe Biden blamed Republicans for the impasse. He wants any budget to include $24 billion in…

Rupert Murdoch, global media mogul and conservative kingmaker

Rupert Murdoch, global media mogul and conservative kingmaker

The 92-year-old Murdoch announced he is stepping back from both News Corp and Fox, conglomerates which made him a billionaire. His eldest son Lachlan will become the…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *