When you think of humanitarian relief, what comes to mind? Is it the life-saving clean water brought into a community that’s been devastated by natural disasters, like with the Red Cross? Is it the medical care that Doctors Without Borders provides around the globe? Whatever image you hold in your mind, one thing remains constant. This help is being brought to these communities by the amazing work of humanitarian aid workers every single day. These people come from around the globe to join in the fight against hunger, sex trafficking, disease and so much more. And while we wish it were the case that they could do their work without fear or risk, the truth is that humanitarian aid workers still face dangers abroad. The United Nations honors the risks these individuals take on National Humanitarian Day every year.
Targeting Humanitarian Aid Workers
There are few things we could imagine worse than targeting humanitarian efforts to harm a community. And yet that’s exactly the dangers aid workers face every day. Though many people work through non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, they’re often still caught in between opposing sides. The most recent Aid Worker Security Report highlights the hundreds of deaths, injuries and kidnappings of aid workers in countries such as Afghanistan and South Sudan. What’s worse? The threats come from both large-scale non-governmental groups, such as terrorist organizations, as well as the government itself.
When Aid Is Viewed As A Threat
It’s difficult to understand, but humanitarian workers are often viewed as a threat to existing power structures. Part of this is through the life-changing support they can offer a community — with no strings attached. Humanitarian aid workers are able to show those who struggle every day in war-torn regions that there are people who care about them. They provide medical care and food without forcing those they help to support a regime. And they provide alternatives to the current power structure.
Join the United Nations in supporting #NotATarget this August 19th, and every day after. We can’t let the selfless aid workers across the globe slip through the cracks, or allow their lives to be forgotten. Please share this with your friends and loved ones to spread awareness far and wide. Let’s celebrate the lives of humanitarian workers loud and proud!