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Stand together with our brave humanitarian workers

Stand together with our brave humanitarian workers

Council for International Development (CID), the coordinating body of New Zealand’s international aid and disaster relief agencies, is changing its social media profile pictures to red today (#redforsyria) and calling on others to show solidarity with humanitarian aid workers killed in the bombing of an aid convoy in Syria.

“Humanitarian aid workers, including New Zealanders and New Zealand NGOs, are putting their lives at risk right now, alongside civilians suffering from war in places like Syria, Iraq and South Sudan,” says Mark Mitchell, Chair of the NGO Disaster Relief Forum – New Zealand’s network of disaster relief agencies.

“The delivery of relief assistance to civilians in distress is a basic principle of international law. The targeting of aid workers is a flagrant violation of that law, and an affront to our common humanity.”

Earlier this week, about twenty civilians and one Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) staff member were killed as they unloaded trucks carrying vital humanitarian aid at a SARC warehouse in Orem Al Kubra (Big Orem), rural Aleppo. The convoy was carrying desperately needed humanitarian supplies that would have reached as many as 78,000 Syrians besieged in the rebel-held city of Aleppo.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Syria is one of the most dangerous conflicts for humanitarian workers in the world. During the past six years, 54 staff and volunteers of SARC have lost their lives whilst carrying out their duties. Worldwide, 109 aid workers were killed in 2015 while assisting victims of war.

“In the last few hours at the UN Security Council, Prime Minister John Key condemned the attacks and called on world powers to restore the delivery of aid to those who need it,” said Mitchell. “New Zealand is part of the solution. As current President of the Security Council, New Zealand has returned this issue to the global agenda, and can now help seek justice for those behind these war crimes.”

“New Zealand was instrumental earlier this year in moving the United Nations Security Council to denounce precisely these types of attacks on aid workers (Resolution 2286). Now is the time to hold world powers to account on those commitments.”

New Zealand NGOs are providing needed relief to disaster-affected populations in 40 countries around the world – including Syria and surrounding countries.

To date, the Syrian war has claimed as many as 290,000 casualties, with 13.5 million people in immediate need of aid.


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