World Humanitarian Day: Civilians Are #NotATarget

August 19 marks World Humanitarian Day. This day focuses greater attention on civilians affected by armed conflicts and pays tribute to aid workers around the world. This year, the momentum continues around the #NotATarget campaign launched in 2017, in which over 2 million people took social action by calling on global leaders to do a better job protecting civilians in conflict zones.

In many areas of the world, conflict is taking a massive toll on people's lives. Millions are displaced from their homes and forced to hide or, while children are taken out of school and families and communities torn apart. Children, migrants, journalists, and aid workers often become victims due to the dangerous and difficult environments.

The Impact

Ninety percent of war casualties in the past 40 years have been civilians. As for those who work in these environments, in 2017 alone, 139 aid workers were killed (second highest recorded death toll, following 2013), 102 were wounded, and 72 were kidnapped in the line of duty. Of the 158 major incidents that occurred in 2017, together, two-thirds of them took place in South Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, and the Central African Republic (CAR).

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Endangering aid workers threatens humanitarian operations and the lives of millions of people who rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival. Without humanitarian operations, millions of civilian lives are at risk because they depend on these operations for disaster relief, including food, water, safety, shelter, and much more

Civilians and aid staff not only face the dangers of physical violence during conflict, but are also threatened with sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment. Earlier this year, Planet Aid President and CEO Ester Neltrup, along with 110 other CEOs, pledged to improve efforts to prevent this abuse of nongovernmental organization staff working in countries across the globe.

"We are resolved to work collaboratively with other members of the NGO community to address these issues and create an environment where respect and responsibility are never allowed to falter." - Ester Neltrup, Planet Aid President and CEO

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Planet Aid honors its staff who contribute to helping save and improve lives of those living in developing communities. For more about our development projects, click here.

You can do your part on World Humanitarian Day by using #NotATarget on social media to demand that world leaders implement ways of protecting civilians in areas of conflict.