The United Nations has reaffirmed its demand for the protection of humanitarians by world leaders and parties to conflicts around the world.

In separate messages to mark the 10th World Humanitarian Day, top officials of the organisation emphasised the rights of all humanitarian workers to protection under international law. The day commemorates the August 19, 2003 car bomb attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which left 22 staff members dead.

This year’s event focuses on the efforts of women humanitarian workers across the world who put their lives at risk to promote peace and development around the world

In his message, UN Secretary General, António Guterres decried the continued serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law around the world. He said since the 2003 attack in Iraq, no fewer than 4,500 aid workers of all genders had been killed, injured, detained, assaulted or kidnapped on duty.

At the wreath-laying ceremony, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, said that those attacking the UN “want to make us afraid, feel weak or to retreat.