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3 Videos on Why Humanitarians are #notatarget

Aid workers sometimes come under attack during deployments in conflict zones. This happens in spite of their neutrality and independence from the involved parties. Most recently, many cases of targeting aid workers took place in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.

As neutral agents, humanitarians must not be a target. Nevertheless, attacks and kidnappings of humanitarian workers do happen. That’s why the sector promotes the #notatarget movement. This is to stop attacks on humanitarians and foster respect for their work with the civilians the wounded.

World Humanitarian Day and the #notatarget Movement

Each year on August 19th, the world celebrates World Humanitarian Day. It is a tribute to those who put their lives at risk to save others. Particularly, World Humanitarian Day celebrates the lives of those who perished or were injured on duty.

In 2017 and 2018, #notatarget was the central theme for the day. Major organizations and their partners have been running campaigns to prevent the targeting of humanitarian workers. In addition, they also promote the protection of civilians, children, and the wounded.

3 videos that highlight the messages of the #notatarget movement


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Not a Target – MSF

Doctors Without Borders (MSF in French) is an international organization that deploys medical personnel. They work in conflict zones and post-disaster areas.

Their film promotes the notion that medical facilities in conflict zones are not a target. This includes doctors, patients, nurses, and other personnel. Rules of war clearly state this. However, attacks persist, particularly in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen. Watch the video here.

Rules of War – ICRC

The International Committee of Red Cross Red Crescent (ICRC) also works in conflict zones. Their mission is to save as many lives as possible. ICRC is one of the oldest humanitarian organizations in the world. They even won a Nobel Prize.

The organization took an important part in setting out humanitarian principles and the Geneva Conventions. Sometimes unbelievably, there are in fact certain rules that apply to wars. These are set out in the Geneva Conventions and pertain mainly to prisoners of war, civilians, and the sick and wounded. Additionally, there are certain types of warfare that are completely forbidden. The video outlines the principle rules of war. Watch it here.

World Humanitarian Day: Not a Target—UNMISS

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan works to protect civilians and build peace. Peacekeepers also dedicate their missions to providing humanitarian relief to those displaced by conflict.

The central theme for the last World Humanitarian Day was #notatarget. For the occasion, UNMISS produced this video to explain what that concept means. This video encourages the protection of civilians in the South Sudanese conflict.  It tells the story of those vulnerable to become targets of warfare. Additionally, it appeals to stop targeting aid workers who are carrying out humanitarian work in conflict areas. You can watch the video here.

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