Human rights groups on Friday called for the first ever World Humanitarian Summit to result in meaningful action in tackling crises affecting millions of people around the world. The Istanbul meeting, convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, aims to end conflicts through political leadership, managing refugees, dealing with natural disasters and climate change, empowering women and girls and preventing widespread diseases.
The World Health Organization said aid organizations are dealing with emergencies “of unprecedented scale. The geographic scale, magnitude of populations affected, duration, danger and complexity of emergencies today is unparalleled.”
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam Great Britain, said the summit “needs to be more than an expensive talking shop.”
“Governments have already made numerous commitments which they have not followed through on relating to ending sex discriminatory laws, banning FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and ending other forms of violence against women,“ Equality Now spokesman Brendan Wynne told USA TODAY. “Women and girls can’t continue to wait any longer.”
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said leaders must address a “widespread disregard for international law. Mass violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law are behind this global refugee crisis,” he said. “Conflicts are fast becoming a free-for-all with the price paid by civilians.”