Statement by EU HR/VP Josep Borrell and EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on World Humanitarian Day 2021

August 18, 2021
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“Ahead of the World Humanitarian Day 2021, we honour all humanitarian workers who are saving lives and helping the most vulnerable in crises worldwide.

The selfless commitment and efforts of humanitarian and medical workers that strive every day, often in harsh conditions, to alleviate the suffering of millions in need, has been all the more remarkable since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus is not, however, the worst threat they face. Regrettably, 108 humanitarian workers lost their lives and 125 were kidnapped in 2020. In 2021, there have been 105 major attacks against humanitarian workers so far.

We condemn such attacks, their perpetrators need to be held accountable. Saving lives should never cost lives – humanitarian workers cannot be a target. We salute their courage and dedication and express our sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have lost their lives while helping others.

We reiterate our call on all parties to all conflicts worldwide to respect International Humanitarian Law and refrain from targeting humanitarian workers and civilians, including civilian infrastructure. We also underline the importance of fully respecting and adhering to the internationally recognised humanitarian principles.

Exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, the humanitarian response faces unprecedented challenges. The funding gap is widening while needs are becoming more complex. At the same time, the delivery of aid is becoming more difficult and dangerous. In this light, the European Commission will provide humanitarian funding of almost €11.5 billion over the period 2021-2027. Together, we will pave the way for the future of the UN 2030 Agenda, leaving no one behind.

We will continue to support those most in need for as long as it takes, while working closely with development partners to improve the resilience of vulnerable populations and address their needs in a comprehensive manner.”

Countries covered:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Palestine *
  • Syria *
  • Tunisia
Human Rights