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First of its kind World Humanitarian Summit is being held in Isanbul, Turkey on May 23-24. The Summit comes as the Syrian civil war enters its sixth year, as Europe is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II and as global social inequality has reached a peak amid a rising population.
Hosted by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, world leaders of United Nations member states, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, are set to gather in Turkey’s largest city on Monday and Tuesday, reports Anadolu agency.
During the summit, attended by 125 of the UN’s 193 member states, at least 50 heads of government will announce several commitments to reduce humanitarian disasters.
These include: preventing and ending conflict; respecting the rules of war; addressing forced displacement; achieving gender equality; responding to climate change; ending the need for aid; and investing in humanity.
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, who will address government leaders at the summit, said in a statement on Thursday: “Leaders at the World Humanitarian Summit must make concrete commitments that deliver real change for civilians facing disaster and conflict,”
“Fundamentally, we must see action from world leaders to reverse the shocking erosion of respect for international humanitarian law – this could be the summit’s single most important legacy,” Byanyima said.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced on 5 May that it would pull out of the summit because of a “lack of hope” that it would “address the massive needs” caused by violence against its medical staff in conflict areas including Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.
Last year, 75 hospitals managed by MSF were bombed. In April this year, an airstrike hit a MSF hospital in a Syrian opposition-held area in Aleppo, killing more than a dozen people, including children and doctors, the organization said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, also declined his invitation to the summit, the humanitarian news agency IRIN reported on May 10.