People worldwide are being asked to stand in solidarity with the millions of civilians globally who have been affected by conflict and the aid workers who are supporting them.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the appeal in a message for World Humanitarian Day, observed this Saturday, 19 August.

The day also marks the 14th anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, including the UN's top official in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Secretary-General said World Humanitarian Day shines a spotlight on civilians caught in conflict and the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed while helping people in need.

This year, the UN and its partners are calling on world leaders to do everything in their power to protect them.

In a video message recorded for the day, Mr Guterres urged people everywhere to support the appeal.

"This year, the United Nations and our partners mark World Humanitarian Day by calling for the protection of civilians caught up in conflict and the aid and health workers who support them. We want the world to know: civilians, including aid workers and health workers, are Not a Target. Please stand in solidarity with civilians by lending your voice to our campaign. Everyone can make a difference in ending the violence and upholding the values we share and hold dear."

The UN chief said hospitals, schools, markets and other civilian infrastructure have come under attack during war time in places such as Syria and South Sudan.

He added that war in Yemen has "has turned the country into an incubator for a lethal cholera epidemic that has killed more than 9,000 people."

Source: United Nations Radio

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