With Wars Now Displacing 60 Million, Time for World to 'Reaffirm Its Humanity'

Citing nearly unprecedent levels of conflict and instability across the world, the heads of both the United Nations and the International Red Cross on Saturday issued a rare joint call warning that nations and global leaders must dramatically step up efforts to scale back wars and miltary actions that are causing massive human suffering while ripping apart families, communities, entire nations, and regions.

“Rarely before have we witnessed so many people on the move, so much instability, so much suffering,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “In armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere, combatants are defying humanity’s most fundamental norms. Every day, we hear of civilians being killed and wounded in violation of the basic rules of international humanitarian law, and with total impunity. Instability is spreading. Suffering is growing. No country can remain untouched.”

“Instability is spreading. Suffering is growing. No country can remain untouched.” —Peter Maurer, ICRC President

Citing figures that are the highest they’ve been since the Second World War, the two agencies said that sixty million people around the world have now been displaced from their homes because of conflict and violence. What’s more, they say, today’s conflicts have become more protracted, meaning that many displaced people face years away from their homes, communities and livelihoods.

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Both Mr. Maurer and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stressed that the institutions they lead are in a unique position to bear witness to the consequences of these numerous conflicts around the world as they condemned the heads of nation states for doing far too little.

“In the face of blatant inhumanity, the world has responded with disturbing paralysis,” said Ban. “This flouts the very raison d’être of the United Nations. The world must reaffirm its humanity and uphold its commitments under international humanitarian law. Today we speak with one voice to urge all States to take immediate, concrete steps to ease the plight of civilians.”

Offering at least a partial set of solutions to the global crisis of war and conflict, the UN and ICRC leaders called on leaders of world government’s to the following urgent actions:

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