19 August 2018, GENEVA - On the occasion of the 2018 World Humanitarian Day – observed annually on 19 August -, the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Dr. Hanif Hassan Al Qassim calls for increased solidarity with civilians who are indiscriminately targeted by belligerents in armed conflicts.

In this connection, Dr. Al Qassim referred to the humanitarian situation in Syria that has resulted in immense human suffering. “In Syria, there are more than 5 million and 6 million internally displaced persons and refugees respectively. It is estimated that more than 500.000 civilians have perished as a result of the war. The humanitarian situation in Syria has become the 21st century greatest humanitarian tragedy,” the Geneva Centre’s Chairman said.

Other countries in the Arab region, such as Yemen, Iraq and Libya, bear witness of the suffering and injustice that is being inflicted on the civilian populations. Armed conflict and violence – Dr. Al Qassim said – is the main cause of the humanitarian suffering and the massive abuses on civilians in times of war. The Geneva Centre’s Chairman stated:

The Arab region is witnessing one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the 21st century. Invasions and the rise of extremist violence have kept peace in jeopardy. Non-violence and lasting peace are key to securing the long-term stability of the Arab region and to promoting a sustainable future.”

To enhance the protection of civilian population, Dr. Al Qassim appealed to decision-makers to meet “funding requirements identified by the UN in relation to addressing the acute humanitarian needs of refugees and people suffering from conflict worldwide.” Providing aid and humanitarian assistance to people in need contributes to alleviate their vulnerability and to become more self-reliant.

The Geneva Centre’s Chairman concluded his statement by saying: “I appeal to the international community to ensure that all parties to a conflict comply with provisions to protect the lives of civilians in line with the provisions set forth in the Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War commonly known as the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“Respect for international law must guide the actions of belligerents in armed conflicts. Widespread crimes against humanity affecting civilians must be condemned uniformly by world leaders regardless of where they take place. Civilians should not bear the burden of the devastating consequences of military conflicts.”


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