When they come back from the field, our experts and partners always have some inspiring stories to tell. "Severely malnourished children come to our health centres on the brink of death, and in a matter of one or two weeks, they completely regain their weight are able to run, and play, and smile... This is very rewarding" says Hedy, a UNICEF nutrition specialist in Burundi.
Unfortunately, humanitarian workers sometimes come back with stories of traumatic experiences. Our colleague Enric describes the terrible feeling of having no freedom, no control over the situation and no idea of what is going to happen next: he was kidnapped twice, once in Georgia and once in Darfur. He feels lucky he can actually tell the story himself. Our expert Dominique talks about the amazing job five humanitarian workers from MSF Holland were doing in Badghis province, Afghanistan. Shortly after his visit to them, he got the devastating news that they were murdered in cold blood on the road between Khairkhana and Qala-i-Naw.
Over 800 humanitarian workers were killed in the last 10 years. Some of them were our colleagues and partners. All of them were someone's colleague, someone's friend, someone's child. They paid the ultimate price for helping men, women and children in need.
From the field, our experts report on a shrinking humanitarian space, of people pretending to be humanitarian workers for military reasons, of the confusion that endangers everyone. They speak of the traumatic impact of violence against humanitarian workers, on the entire humanitarian community but also on the local communities, who rely on humanitarian assistance.
Targeting civilians and humanitarian workers is a war crime. We try, in our daily work, to pay tribute to those who were killed for helping fellow human beings, by calling tirelessly for the respect of humanitarian laws, independence and neutrality.