|Aug.16,2018-- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Wednesday launched a petition with world leaders for the protection of civilians and aid workers in armed conflict.
The petition was launched on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, which falls on Aug. 19.
"Each year on World Humanitarian Day, we stand in solidarity with the millions of people affected by conflict and the aid and health workers who risk their lives to assist them. We take the day as an opportunity to remind the world of our collective responsibility to bring that suffering to an end," said OCHA in a message.
Today, in conflict zones all over the world, civilians are routinely killed or maimed, towns and cities are damaged and destroyed, in targeted or indiscriminate attacks. People are cut off from food, water and life-saving assistance, in some cases, starved as a deliberate tactic of war, it said.
Humanitarian and medical personnel are killed, injured, kidnapped or otherwise prevented from reaching people in need. They are exposed to legal obstacles and even forms of punishment for impartially providing aid and care to people who need it to survive, said the message.
The petition was launched prior to next month's gathering of world leaders in New York for the annual UN General Assembly General Debate.
OCHA asked parties to conflict to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
It also demanded states ensure that civilians in conflict zones can access medical care and humanitarian assistance, and enable humanitarian and health workers to work in safety.
States should ensure better protection and assistance of people forcibly displaced within their country and uphold their human rights, and should condition their arms exports on respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, it said.
The UN Security Council should not accept attacks on children as the "new normal" of armed conflict, it said.
Aug. 19 was designated as World Humanitarian Day by the UN General Assembly in 2008 to mark the bombing that targeted the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq on Aug. 19, 2003. The blast at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad killed 22 people, including the world body's top envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.