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Foreign Minister Mikser on World Humanitarian Day: no one should live in constant fear

21.08.2017

On 19 August, World Humanitarian Day, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser reaffirmed the importance of humanitarian aid and Estonia’s support for the protection of civilian lives amidst armed conflicts.

“No person should live in constant fear for their lives and those of their loved ones. We must protect innocent people who happen to be living in conflict zones and who have been unable to leave,” said Mikser. “In particular, this applies to women and children who are suffer from violence. We also have to support those who were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in other regions or countries.” He added that Estonia paid special attention to the issue of internal displacement and opportunities for children to continue their education.

Mikser said he regretted that humanitarian crises are still seeing a growth trend, the types of crises and access to those in need have become more complicated. “Attacks against civilians, civilian infrastructure and humanitarian aid workers are unacceptable and should be deplored and spotlighted by the international community,” he said. Mikser said that attacks on civilians and humanitarian aid workers are in clear contravention of humanitarian law aimed at limiting the impact of armed conflicts.

Mikser mentioned Syria and Ukraine as two important destination countries for Estonian humanitarian assistance. Since early 2014, Estonia has allocated around 2.8 million euros to Ukraine; while Syria has received 6.8 million euros since 2012. “In both regions, it is extremely important to improve protections for humanitarian aid workers as well as to ensure safe and effective access to humanitarian aid,” Mikser said.

Each year on World Humanitarian Day, 19 August, Estonia remembers the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 22 humanitarian aid workers. World Humanitarian Day 2017, themed #NotATarget, is dedicated to the protection of humanitarian aid workers and civilians. It is estimated that 130 million people in 40 countries will need humanitarian aid this year.

Additional information:
Sandra Kamilova
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Communication Department
56675362
press@mfa.ee

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