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Globalization and politics

Javier Pérez de la Cruz
Multimedia Journalist
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piqer: Javier Pérez de la Cruz
Wednesday, 06 February 2019

Risking Your Life To Help Others: Humanitarian Workers Share Their Stories

When journalists report about a humanitarian crisis, they are there. And very often, almost always, when TV crews are still far away, they are already providing aid in the area.

In this podcast from UNHCR, the UN agency for refugees, humanitarian workers share their stories. 

Normally it's very hard to hear this kind of personal testimony from NGO employees. And it's rightly so because, first, that isn't their work and, secondly, the important thing is to tell the story of the people suffering

However, in these times where far-right parties are gaining force across Western countries, it's crucial to show another perspective of the dreadful realities refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people escape from. 

And, of course, I'm talking about professionals who dedicate almost their entire life to this cause, not about voluntourists posting selfies with children.

I'm talking about people like Vincent Cochetel, to whom the podcast series dedicates its first episode.

I was the head of corporation for the North Caucasus for the refugee agency and this region was black with several conflicts. And at the same time that you had this conflict you had criminal elements cross-fertilizing with militant groups and hostage taking became a business at that time. A few foreigners that were in the North Caucasus were humanitarian aid workers and several got abducted, many released against ransom and some others disappeared. Some were killed.

Cochetel himself was kidnapped. He was held for 317 days in a dark basement before being rescued. But this experience didn't stop him from continuing to do his work.

UNHCR is only one of the several institutions giving aid and support in extremely difficult situations. Thanks to them, hundreds of thousands of people who were forced to leave their home receive some support before reaching a safer place – something unfortunately not all of them manage to do.  

Risking Your Life To Help Others: Humanitarian Workers Share Their Stories
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