The United Nations (UN) has demanded for unconditional release of three aid workers abducted early this year in Rann, Ngala local government area of Borno State and urged government to provide enough protection for people caught in conflict.
UN condemned the killings and abduction of workers in the northeast of Nigeria and urged parties to the conflict to enable the work of humanitarian and facilitate their access to people in need, in line with International Humanitarian Law.
Three aid workers were killed and another three abducted in March 2018 in Rann, an aid worker was killed in Ngala in May; and a member of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) staff was killed in Damasak just last week.
According to the organisation, despite the fact that humanitarian workers deliver aid and provide medical assistant to those in need, they are too often targeted or treated as threats.
The organisation stated that the fatalities are a stark reminder of the dangerous reality for all humanitarians who provide life-saving aid to people in need and who themselves, are Nigerians.
In a statement by the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, on World Humanitarian Day, which is celebrated, every August 19, the organisation lamented that in north-east Nigeria, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict that has led to widespread forced displacement, abuse, and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
He stated that women, men and children face grave human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence on a daily basis since the start of the conflict in 2009 with more than 26,000 killed, thousands of women and girls abducted and children continue to be used on a regular basis for “suicide” bombers.
“Thousands of families have been forced to flee their villages and communities. On World Humanitarian Day, I call on Nigerian leaders to do everything in their power to protect the people caught up in conflict,” he said.
Kallon further said, “We express solidarity with people affected by humanitarian crises and pay tribute to the humanitarian workers who help them. This year’s commemoration marks the fifteenth anniversary since the attack on the United Nations in Baghdad, Iraq, in which 22 of our colleagues were killed. Since that tragedy, which led to this day’s designation as World Humanitarian Day; over 4,000 humanitarians have been killed, injured, detained or kidnapped. That is an average of 300 cases every year.
“Civilians in conflict zones also continue to be killed and maimed, deliberately or in indiscriminate attacks. Around the world, conflict is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, with over 65 million people now displaced. Children are recruited by armed groups and used to fight. Women are abused and humiliated. Together, we stand, with the Government of Nigeria, in solidarity with civilians in conflict, and with the humanitarian.” The organisation called on those who are concerned to join the campaign at world humanitarian day to show that civilians are #NotATarget.