Source: British House of Commons News
10 October 2019
The International Development Committee has published the Government’s response to its report into tackling violence against aid workers.
The report highlighted the growing threat of violence against aid workers – in 2018, 126 were killed around the globe; and, in the same year,167 medical workers were killed in attacks on health care facilities. It called on the UK and DFID to provide global leadership on the safeguarding of aid workers and hold aggressors to account by using diplomatic pressure to encourage the enforcement of international law. The Government’s response welcomed the main thrust of the Committee’s report but failed to commit to key recommendations, particularly holding an international humanitarian worker safety and security summit. The Committee views this measure as a crucial step to raise the profile of this topic; and in establishing a consensus around best practice for protecting aid workers and combatting those who seek to do them harm.
Chair of the International Development Committee, Stephen Twigg MP said:
“The international community cannot ignore the serious threats facing aid and health workers around the world. It cannot be right for aid providers to fear for their safety when providing vital support, or for the responsibility to be shouldered by local workers in conflict-affected regions. The Government’s response to our report demonstrates that they recognise the seriousness of the situation. However, we hoped for more in terms of concrete measures to drive forward international consensus. An international humanitarian worker safety and security summit would be a crucial step in identifying how international law and diplomatic pressure can better hold those committing acts of violence to account. It can also look for agreement on how to provide more effective support to agencies whose sole purpose is to ensure humanitarian workers can operate in safety, such as the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) and the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO). Giving evidence to our Committee on Tuesday, International Development Minister, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, pledged to give serious consideration to taking these proposals forward. We will continue to watch DFID’s progress closely and will expect to see progress when their Ministers appear before the Committee in the future.”