Activities marking world humanitarian day (WHD) took place this 18th August 2017 in Yaounde-Cameroon, with focus on the protection of civilians #NotATarget.
Opening the celebrations held at the conference hall of Cameroon’s Red Cross, Allegra Baiocchi, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Cameroon, read the message of the United Nations ‘Secretary General. Antonio Guterres’ message praised the silent heroes who dedicate their lives to humanitarian works every day.
He said: “On this day, we also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need, and pay tribute to the government employees, and representatives of international organizations and agencies who risk their daily lives to provide humanitarian aid. Despite our efforts, civilians, including medial and humanitarian workers continue to bear the brunt of intense conflicts around the world. They are attacked and their access obstructed, while humanitarian supplies and hospitals are looted by fighting parties”.
Allegra Baiocchi said the #NotATarget” campaign is a call for the protection of war victims and vulnerable groups worldwide. “The celebration of this year’s world humanitarian day is to recall us that all civilians are not a target. They need to be protected by every aid worker not only military actors. In Cameroon, this year, our analyses estimated that we have close to 3 Million people who are in humanitarian needs notably with the problem of food security. Yet, we praise the efforts of the government in securing refugees and internally displaced persons”.
The Director of civil protection in Cameroon, Mariatou Yap, on her part said the government is always committed to protect its populations and those who work and volunteer for vulnerable persons nationwide notwithstanding social unrest and the current threats from Boko Haram sect.
WHD is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who have risked and lost their lives in humanitarian service. Around the world, humanitarian aid workers operate in dangerous and difficult environments. The day is a great occasion to celebrate the heroic effort of people working in dire conditions to protect human lives and to reflect on the needs of the 130 million people around the world currently displaced by conflicts or natural disasters.
Displaced people spend on average 20 years in their temporary accommodations, unable to return home or to access comprehensive healthcare or education.
By Elise Kenimbeni