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It's world humanitarian day and the time to reflect on those who risk their lives for humanitarian purposes

August 19 marks International Humanitarian Day, and 2019's theme is #WomenHumanitarians as a tribute to all the women humanitarians who are working across the world on the front line in their communities, while often remaining invisible. Described by the UN as 'the unsung heroes', women make up a substantial number of those who risk their lives every single day as they help those in need. From Yemen and South Sudan to Syria and Central Africa Republic, women are still the most vulnerable in conflict areas and yet despite this so-called "fact of life", their bravery prevails and their ceaseless fight to aid while carving a path toward a world free of abuse against women.

In this week's roundup, FairPlanet is taking a deep dive into the world of those who dedicate their lives to humanitarian aid and those who are in need the world over.

Read. Debate: Engage.

The good

humanitarian workers are becoming more and more recognised by the world

When it comes to empowering women and recognising the work that needs to be and is done by female advocates and humanitarian workers, we are progressing. Last year the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Yashidi human rights advocate Nadia Murad for her "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict." Murad showed the world that women aren't always just victims as they are depicted and with that, she sparked a movement that reveals to the world the work women do on the ground in conflict zones.

While these are but small steps toward empowering women the world over to no longer live in fear and a complicit acceptance that this is somehow the way of life, the global recognition of humanitarian workers fighting for female equality, safety and dignity is a huge step forward.

Anhar Mohammed Saeed works in CARE’s Aden office, supporting CARE's response to the current humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
The bad

Women are still in danger around the world.

In a recent conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege, Emma Watson talked about violence against women. Saying that "there's a sort of strange acceptance as women that not feeling safe, not being completely safe, in our societies and communities is a fact of life and that this is something we just have to accept, that's the way of the world, it's dangerous to be a woman." Continuing to add "but I don't think that we have to accept that. And I do think there are other ways that we can live and be. We deserve it, and we need to demand it."

Sexual violence, rape, torture, and abuse of girls and women continue to be a weapon of war. At the same time, it continues to be a reality for millions around the world, regardless of war or peace. Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) is a nonprofit organisation and think tank comprised of lawyers and experts providing legal aid and support to individuals and communities suffering from human rights violations in areas of conflict.

LAW is actively seeking lawyers and experts to contribute their skills to their expanding network. If you or anyone you know may be interested in doing so, please consult LAW’s website for more information.


'LAW' litigate on behalf of South Sudan’s sexual violence victims

by Yair Oded

Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) litigate and advocate on behalf of South Sudan most vulnerable population: women and girls.
Meanwhile around the world

A platform for women who struggle with abusive relationships

by Sofia Gallarate

The lack of accessible information available to most women victims of abuse led Hera Hussain to found, in 2013, the open-source organisation Chayn.
Burundi refugees

The South Sudan Bush Doctor helps 200,000 refugees

by Bob Koigi

A broken X ray machine, spotty electrical power, a dimly lit theatre room and generators that are constantly breaking down best captures the situation at Maban Referral Hopsital in Bunj area. Located at the South-eastern corner of South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, it attends to over 200,000 people, mostly refugees, who have been displaced by the prolonged deadly conflict in Africa’s youngest nation.

Slavery and other human rights abuses are rife across supply chains

by Gurmeet Singh

The way our consumerist world appears obscures the conditions under which it exists.
Country focus
South Sudan

The landlocked South Sudan, officially called the Republic of South Sudan had gained independence from Sudan in July 2011. With a population of just under 10 million, South Sudan has been recognised as one of Africa's – and perhaps the world's – most diverse nations, with over 60 major ethnic groups.

South Sudan's independence came 6 years after the 2005 agreement that saw the end of Africa's longest civil war. However independence did not bring peace to the nation. Since 2013 South Sudan has been going through a bloody civil war that has seen more than 4 million citizens displaced. As a result of domestic unrest and corruption, the right to press freedom is not respected in South Sudan, with journalists facing violence and repression.