CARE Urges UN Security Council to Vote Yes For Protection of Humanitarian Workers

CARE
Tuesday, 26 August 2003

CARE, the international humanitarian organization, urges members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to vote in favor of the resolution before them today on the Protection of Humanitarian Workers.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Mexico, France, Russia, Syria and Bulgaria, calls for greater protection for humanitarian personnel in the face of an ever-growing number of targeted attacks. This would be the first UN Security Council resolution to protect the safety of staff of humanitarian organizations, especially in conflict areas.

"It is critical that the Security Council pass this resolution without delay, to help continue the life-saving work of humanitarians in greater safety," says Peter Bell, president of CARE USA. "Humanitarians and the civilians they are helping are at risk every day in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rise in intentional violence against aid workers -murder, kidnapping, rape, illegal detention and armed robbery-- is cause for action."

Aid workers in Afghanistan have received death threats for working with humanitarian organizations. Aid convoys have been attacked and looted in troubled areas around the world. Most tragically, the recent attack on the UN headquarters in Iraq, which has left at least 22 dead, gives new urgency to enforcing the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. In a crucial provision, the draft resolution urges UN member states to end the impunity of those who commit such assaults, and ensure that they are treated as war crimes in accordance with international law.

CARE mourns the death and injuries of many close colleagues and friends in the UN bombing. What adds to the tragedy is that these attacks keep humanitarians from reaching ordinary people in need.

"There are approximately 12,000 CARE staff working with people in the poorest communities around the world," says Bell. "Many of them increasingly see themselves and the programs they run as targets. They worry about the work that will be left undone, the many men, women and children left to struggle in poverty if violence puts a stop to humanitarian aid," says Bell. "The UN Security Council could help deter that violence by passing this vital resolution as it stands."

About CARE: CARE is one of the world's leading humanitarian organizations fighting global poverty. CARE helps communities help themselves through programs in agriculture and natural resources, economic development, education, food, health, water and sanitation and emergency response.

For more information, or to contact CARE, see their website at: www.care.org

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