Ahead of World Humanitarian Day 2017, Concern CEO, Dominic MacSorley, remembers the staff members who have lost their lives while serving vulnerable communities in some of the most difficult and inhumane situations in the world. He emphasises that aid workers and civilians must never be a target in conflict, underlining this year's UN campaign #NotATarget.
Earlier this year, when a massive bomb blast rocked the centre of Kabul killing over 150 people, I immediately thought of Concern Worldwide staff in Afghanistan and contacted our country director there to see if everybody was alright.
World Humanitarian Day
It was a ferocious attack, an ominous sign of the extreme violence Iraq was to suffer in the years ahead, and it shook the humanitarian world to its core.
World now even more dangerous
Today’s conflicts increasingly take place in urban areas, with civilian populations, and those attempting to assist them, caught in the crossfire.
Ultimately, the lynchpin of our security is acceptance, so the people on the ground – that is local communities, other agencies, government personnel and all parties to conflict - know who we are and recognise the benefits that our presence brings.
A difficult year for Concern community
For each of these tragedies, we regroup, review, adjust our presence and our movements as required and then get on with the work. This is not heroism, it is stoic resilience and humanity, matched with experience and professionalism.
The power of compassion
Appropriately, the slogan for this year’s World Humanitarian Day is #NotATarget – a reminder of the need to address the high level of violence against aid workers.