Italy signs Political Declaration to protect humanitarian workers in armed conflicts

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NEW YORK, 2 APRILE – Thirty-nine countries with one mission: protect humanitarian personnel. “Italy is proud to be among the signatories of the Political Declaration on Protection of Medical Care in Armed Conflict”, the Italian Permanent Mission to the UN said on Twitter after the adoption of a Political Declaration during an Arria Formula security Council meeting.

“Aid workers are attacked to spread fear. In Syria alone, there were 139 attacks on medical facilities last year”, said the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who chaired the meeting along with his French colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian. The meeting had been convened by the joint French-German presidency for the months of March and April.

Le Drian paid tribute to the Red Cross, which “plays a crucial role in this battle to enact international humanitarian law”. The Council listened to an appeal by the Red Cross President Peter Maurer: “In many places across the world, the space for impartial humanitarian action is under threat. Human dignity is disregarded, the applicability of the law is questioned, humanitarian aid is politicized and deliberately hijacked for political gain or the control of populations. Humanitarian organizations are increasingly placed under pressure as both States and non-State armed groups hold civilian populations and humanitarian actors to ransom in order to achieve their goals.

But humanitarian organizations do not exist to endorse, to legitimize, or to help authorities further their political objectives. The ICRC works to help States live up to the obligations they have signed, not to help them circumnavigate them.

When the principles of impartiality are breached and humanitarian action is curtailed, families – like the ones I meet – go hungry, they fall sick, they are left vulnerable to abuse. No wonder they are asking ‘why?'”.(@OnuItalia)