On the 4th August 2006, 17 ACF employees were murdered in the town of Muttur, in Sri Lanka, while assisting the population suffering from the consequences of the tsunami. Although clearly identified as humanitarian aid workers, our colleagues were brought to their knees and shot a bullet in the head. Seven years after, this crime remains unpunished. None of the investigations launched came to an answer.
This massacre accounts for the most dramatic crime ever committed against humanitarian aid workers. In recent years, humanitarian aid workers have been increasingly targeted. In Sri Lanka, our colleagues where providing essential assistance to populations while trapped in a destructive conflict. Beyond this barbaric crime, it is the humanitarian aid as a whole that has been targeted.
Aid workers in Afghanistan, Syria, Mali, etc. are regular targets. As what occurred in Sri Lanka, these crimes are perpetrated in total impunity. The independent and impartial humanitarian status no longer protects them. It is essential that the international community acts to protect aid workers. Ultimately, killing aid workers is punishing those they help.