World Humanitarian Day (19 Aug. 2020)


On this World Humanitarian Day, France reaffirms its resolute commitment in support of humanitarian action. In the face of the current crises, France has made humanitarian action a pillar of its foreign policy and, at the request of President Macron, has increased its financial effort within the framework of its 2018-2022 strategy by tripling the overall amount of its humanitarian assistance from €150 million to €500 million by 2022.

This year, France pays special tribute to all humanitarian and health personnel working in the most dangerous areas around the world to alleviate the suffering of the victims of armed conflict and natural disasters and to help millions of people in emergency situations. In a more challenging context for humanitarian workers as a result of an increase in armed conflicts and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, France salutes their courage and devotion.

France reaffirms in the strongest terms its condemnation of the recent attacks perpetrated against humanitarian and health workers, including the deadly attack which killed six of our compatriots and their two companions on August 9 in Niger, as well as the murder of Benoît Maria, the head of an NGO in Guatemala on August 11, 2020.

Humanitarian action is based on respect for humanitarian principles – humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality. No humanitarian actor should pay the ultimate price for choosing to dedicate their life to others.

That is why France is determined to ensure respect for the imperative to protect humanitarian and health personnel. It will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the effective implementation of international humanitarian law, in order to ensure safe and unrestricted humanitarian access and to allow humanitarian workers to carry out their work safely. In this context, the French authorities intend to examine ways to strengthen the protection of humanitarian personnel and mobilize the international community to that end, notably within the United Nations. It was with this in mind that Jean-Yves le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, tabled the political declaration of October 31, 2017, on the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel and that he launched, in September 2019, together with his German counterpart, the Call for Humanitarian Action within the framework of the Alliance for Multilateralism.

In order to ensure the effective implementation of this call for action, Jean-Yves le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, introduced, in February, an initiative to train state actors and certain non-state actors in international humanitarian law, as well as a national plan to promote training in international humanitarian law. The minister for Europe and foreign affairs will continue and expand dialogue on this key issue with humanitarian stakeholders, within the framework of the forthcoming National Humanitarian Conference.