19 Aug 2009

UN says Pacific countries not immune from violence against aid workers

7:41 am on 19 August 2009

According to the United Nations, Pacific countries are not immune from the rise in violence attacks against humanitarian workers

UN staff will pause today to mark the inaugural World Humanitarian Day and to remember the hundreds of humanitarian workers who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties.

World Humanitarian Day is being held on the anniversary of the bombing of the UN Assistance Mission in Baghdad in 2003.

Since the bombing, which killed 22, there has been an increase in violence against humanitarian personnel.

The UN Refugee Agency's Regional Representative, Richard Towle, says no region is immune.

"But I would say that the Pacific islands have not been subjected to the same levels and degree of violence against humanitarian and we hope it remains that way. But we do need to take precaution in any place where you have lawlessness, conflict and violence there is a risk this will happen."

Richard Towle claims his staff have been subject to occasional intimidation in Papua New Guinea where he says the humanitarian field can be very dangerous.