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Paying tribute to the work and sacrifice of humanitarians

Paying tribute to the work and sacrifice of humanitarians
18/08/2013  - 

Tomorrow is World Humanitarian Day and I hope you'll join me in paying tribute to the courageous women and men who give live-saving assistance to victims of disasters and conflicts around the world. Thanks to the daily efforts of humanitarian workers, millions of people survive unimaginable hardship and have a chance to see a future better than their past.

Collectively of all governments, the European Union is the world's largest aid donor, but money alone does not distribute food to the hungry, does not dress the wounds of the injured and does not build a roof above homeless refugees. Humanitarian workers do and I am proud that we make their work possible.

But humanitarians often fall victim themselves: at least one humanitarian worker gets murdered, wounded or kidnapped every day. When humanitarian organisations are forced to leave a disaster area because of high insecurity, the communities left behind pay the price. Denying relief workers access to those in need can leave thousands of people without shelter, food, safe water and health care.

In the name of the victims, I appeal to parties in conflict, governments and non-governmental actors, to protect humanitarians and allow them to perform their life-saving mission. This is a matter of life and death.