Statement by the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper, on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day
Today marks World Humanitarian Day, an annual occasion dedicated by the United Nations General Assembly to raising public awareness of the millions of people who risk their lives in order to provide food, water and other assistance to people in desperate need in conflicts, in natural disasters and other emergencies. This year the UN and its partners come together on this day to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget and to demand global action to protect them.
In the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), aid workers serving with 13 UN agencies, 80 members of the international NGO association AIDA, and many national organizations deliver critical assistance daily, sometimes at significant personal risk. In 2016, our teams provided food assistance to 1.6 million Palestinians, shelter assistance to over 150,000 people, emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services to more than half a million people, and emergency health services to over 1.2 million. This year, we aim to assist 1.6 million Palestinians - many in need of protection from violations of international law, or in need of better access to basic services, or whose coping strategies have been depleted after so many years of uncertainty and insecurity.
This year, on World Humanitarian Day, we salute the tireless work of humanitarian aid workers in the oPt and beyond. We echo the UN Secretary-General’s global call for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and for the protection of civilians.