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World Humanitarian Day: UN agencies in Nigeria seek protection of aid workers

By our reporter

Aug. 18, 2020- UN agencies in Nigeria have called for the protection of humanitarian aid workers who unfortunately have become targets by armed groups.

Representatives of UN agencies in Nigeria made the call on Tuesday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2020 World Humanitarian Day (WHD) with the theme #ReaLifeHeroes.

Ms Chansa Kapaya, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Nigeria says all governments must uphold their responsibilities to keep humanitarians safe.

She said that Humanitarian operations in Mali, Mozambique, Libya Nigeria and Yemen are reporting attacks on camps for the displaced, hospitals and schools which are threatening the safety of millions and increasing humanitarian needs.

“According to OCHA’s analysis, insecurity is also rising in areas where violence and insecurity were not major concerns before. Countries considered to be of high concern include Cameroon, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.

“We need to see greater investment from donors, and in turn, aid agencies, in meeting the duty cared owed to humanitarian national staff and partners, including more resources directed towards staff security,” Kapaya said.

Kapaya said the best way to pay tribute to what humanitarians do is by supporting their work and advocating for their safety as they continue to stay and deliver.

Mr Trond Jensen, Head of Office, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Nigeria said says over 40 aid workers have been killed since the beginning of the insurgency in Nigeria over a decade.

Jensen said in 2020, 15 aid workers have been killed, stressing the need for protection of aid workers who should not be the target.

He commended aid workers for their selflessness and resilience in saving the lives of others amid these trying times when the world is also fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.

Jensen also commended the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Affairs (FMHDS) for its coordination efforts.

Mr Frantz Celestine, Head of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Nigeria says as real heroes, humanitarians have left their own lives behind just to save others, as such, must be protected.

Celestine also commiserated with families of colleagues who have lost their loved ones in the course of duty, he said, they should never be forgotten.

The IOM Nigeria Head of Mission called on the International committee and governments to to do all that is necessary to guaranty the safety of aid workers.

‘We are celebrating the perseverance and sacrifices of real life heroes. These humanitarian workers make miracles happen every day, saving lives around at the risk of their own lives.

“Humanitarian aid workers and civilians are now targets and should never be.

“As we celebrate, we remember our colleagues who have lost their lives in the line of duties.

“I enjoin the International Community to do all that is necessary for humanitarian workers and even to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable making sure no one is left behind.” Celestine said.

The Humanitarian Post reports that the commemoration of the WHD also coincides with the first year anniversary of the establishment of the FMHDS.

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