International law violations hinder the work of humanitarians
World Humanitarian Day 2014
The growing number of international humanitarian law violations has made the work of relief workers increasingly difficult, Malteser International states ahead of World Humanitarian Day on August 19th.
“We are extremely worried about the developments in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine, and many other countries today,” says Ingo Radtke, Malteser International Secretary General. “Violent conflicts, terror and violence are making it nearly impossible to work in those countries.”
Millions of people around the world – especially women, children and the elderly – are suffering under the consequences of armed conflicts and crises. “In more and more cases, the right of civilians to access water, food and medicine is being neglected,” Radtke says. “Many are cut off from these vital services, because humanitarian relief organizations like ours – in spite of our absolute neutrality and impartiality – are not able to reach the affected population without putting our own workers in harm’s way.”
“Humanitarian aid can neither prevent nor solve wars and conflicts,” Radtke continues, “and yet the need for humanitarian relief is usually greatest in countries which cannot or will not protect its own population.” Malteser International calls on the international community to promote greater compliance to international humanitarian laws. “Adherence to the rules of international law helps aid organizations reach people in need and alleviate their suffering,” Radtke says. “A ‘humanitarian space’ must be available that allows free access to the affected, an independent evaluation of their needs, as well as an impartial and needs-oriented distribution of relief goods.”
Malteser International is currently preparing the deployment of humanitarian relief for persecuted minorities in north Iraq. In 2013, the humanitarian relief agency of the Order of Malta delivered direct emergency relief to nearly half a million people after disasters and crises.