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World Humanitarian Summit meets in Istanbul, 23-24 May

Istanbul, 23 May 2016

Refugee tents at the Syrian - Turkish border

Refugee tents at the Syrian – Turkish border

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) takes place in Istanbul this week. World leaders – governments, international institutions, international aid agencies and faith-based aid agencies – will meet to reaffirm the principles at the heart of humanitarian action – humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. This reaffirmation is one of the main goals of the participation of the Sovereign Order of Malta in the WHS. “Religious leaders and faith-based organisations are often trusted first responders and long-term community partners in crises. The Summit is the ideal opportunity for representatives of all different faiths to come together and affirm their commitment to humanitarian assistance and protection,” explains Albrecht Boeselager, Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta. “Our priority is to reaffirm the principles of international humanitarian laws, often ignored by parties, and not just armed rebel groups and non-state actors, as the attacks on hospitals, schools and against health workers sadly remind us”.

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.