ACT calls for an end to attacks on aid workers

29th October 2015

Less than one month after the bombing of the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of at least 30 staff and patients, the humanitarian community is again outraged at the aerial attack on another MSF medical facility in Haydan, Yemen. ACT Alliance deplores these attacks, and stands in support of our MSF colleagues expressing our deepest condolences to staff, patients and communities affected.

As a network of churches and faith-based organisations, ACT Alliance members engage in provision of humanitarian assistance around the world. “As humanitarians, we are all affected by attacks on aid workers and humanitarian facilities,” says Reshma Adatia, ACT Alliance Global Humanitarian Coordinator. “The horrific bombing in Kunduz highlights a clear example where violations of the Geneva Conventions have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable. As a result of this attack, thousands of people no longer have access to essential medical services, depriving them of the very assistance they are in desperate need of.”

Access to aid, and conversely aid workers access to populations, is severely compromised when humanitarian action is so blatantly disrespected. ACT Alliance supports MSF’s call for an independent investigation into the attack in Kunduz by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC). “The entire humanitarian community has come together to insist on the importance of this investigation, not only to establish the facts for MSF, but to support and protect humanitarian workers around the world as they serve people in crisis.”

Access to populations in need and the safety of humanitarian staff are routinely hampered around the world, from Syria and Afghanistan, to South Sudan and Central African Republic. “Humanitarian organisations and their staff take incredible risks every single day to deliver aid to people around the world. Attacks, whether deliberate or accidental, must stop so that vulnerable populations stop paying an even higher price,” concludes Ms. Adatia.

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ACT Alliance member Community World Service Asia has been working in Kunduz, Afghanistan, serving populations in the area since early 2014, and are currently providing food packages and winterization kits to 4,200 people affected by the conflict. The destruction of the MSF facility has a direct impact on the populations ACT Alliance is serving, as it has resulted in a total loss of medical services in the area.

ACT Alliance membership includes over 140 church and faith-based organisations, from over 70 countries around the world. As a global alliance, ACT members are committed to working together in the areas of humanitarian response, development and advocacy.