WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Friday in honor of World Humanitarian Day:
“Today, on World Humanitarian Day, I recognize and honor those who courageously provide aid to the millions whose lives have been torn apart by conflict or disaster. Their work often comes at great personal risk, as they endure the threat of injury, abduction, harassment, rape, arrest, and even death. In 2015, we witnessed 148 attacks against humanitarians in 25 different countries that have killed 109 individuals. Humanitarian aid workers on the front lines of war and disaster deserve our immense admiration and support.
“The international community must renew its commitment to long established principles of international humanitarian and human rights law. With growing insecurity, proliferating conflict, and record levels of human displacement, we have seen humanitarian principles undermined and abused. I am appalled by recent reports that South Sudanese government forces last month raped, tortured, and severely beat international aid workers, including U.S. citizens; and that after five years, the Assad regime continues to bomb medical facilities and kill medical providers. I also remain concerned about reports that, in Yemen last week, a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders was hit by an airstrike, the fourth Doctors Without Borders supported hospital in Yemen to be hit in the last year.
“Targeted attacks against humanitarians must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Those willing to risk their lives to save others amid conflict and natural disaster require and deserve unconditional protection.”