April 22nd, 2015 17:33 EST
Respect for the UN Flag is Disappearing
Yesterday`s horrific " attack on the United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) staff in Somalia is a reminder of the dangers many aid workers face on a daily basis, the top UN humanitarian official said today, urging that those who perpetrated the attacks be held accountable.
Four UNICEF staff members were killed yesterday when a roadside bomb exploded alongside their minivan as they travelled to work in Garowe, northern Somalia.
Aid workers are increasingly targets, with serious consequences for our ability to reach people who urgently need help, " Valerie Amos, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a press release.
Attacks on humanitarian workers can constitute a war crime and are in total violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. "
According to the UN, such attacks have increased every year for more than a decade. In 2013, they reached a record high of 264 attacks, affecting 474 aid workers.
Respect for the United Nations flag and the Red Cross and Red Crescent flag is disappearing, " Ms. Amos emphasized.
When aid workers are attacked, they are unable to help people. Those who target aid workers are penalizing the most vulnerable people in the world; those who are struggling to survive. They are violating every principle of humanity and common decency, " the UN humanitarian chief said.
In a statement honouring the victims today, UNICEF released the names of the four colleagues, who had been working since 2014 on vaccination against poliomyelitis, social mobilization with local communities, education, and administration.
These heroes were dedicated to building a better world for children " today, all of us at UNICEF honour their sacrifice, " the statement said.
Our thoughts are with the families of all who died, with those who were injured, and with all our staff who continue to work tirelessly in Somalia to support women and children, " it added.
Five other UNICEF colleagues are being treated for injuries sustained in the attack, and the agency looks forward to their speedy recovery. Two local security personnel, unrelated to UNICEF, were also killed as a result of the attack, and four others injured.
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