Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on World Humanitarian Day on 19 August 2020:
On World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) invites us, also by using the hashtag #RealLifeHeroes, to give special thanks to the many humanitarian aid workers around the world.
Humanitarian aid workers deserve our respect: Their job – sometimes at the risk of their own lives – is to help people who live in hardship, who face hunger, who are fleeing from war or violence, or who lack access to sanitary and medical facilities.
They overcome many obstacles, travel to dangerous regions and even risk political persecution. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought additional challenges.
Their dedicated efforts deserve our appreciation. Without the tremendous personal commitment of humanitarian aid workers, the suffering of those affected by conflicts and crises would be far greater. In many cases, they serve as volunteers or for little pay, for instance as doctors in medical facilities or in teams of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, which recently came to the aid of those affected by the Beirut explosion.
When humanitarian aid workers are targeted by violence – as was recently the case in late July in northern Nigeria – then this is absolutely unacceptable; we most strongly condemn and actively support the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. We see it as our task to continue working for reliable protection of, and better working conditions for, humanitarian aid workers. They deserve our deep gratitude, recognition and support!