World Humanitarian Day: 19th August
August 19th marked World Humanitarian Day, a day that rallies support for people affected by humanitarian crises and recognises aid workers who risk their lives to help others in emergencies.
The day marked the 15th anniversary of a bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq where 22 humanitarian aid workers were killed.
This year’s World Humanitarian Day campaign is #NotATarget. It aims to raise awareness of the millions of civilians who are affected by armed conflict on a daily basis.
Around the world over 68 million people have been forced to their homes due to war, persecution and violence. For these people there is often little hope of returning home. However, displacement brings new dangers such as sexual violence, detention and trafficking.
Aid workers risk their own lives to help others in dangerous situations; however, their efforts are frequently hindered by conflict. In 2017 there were 313 major attacks on aid workers, 139 of which were killed.
Attacks on aid workers often create a ripple effect throughout the affected community as critical services, aid and medical treatment can become restricted.
António Guterres commented:
“We mark World Humanitarian Day every year on 19 August, to express solidarity with people affected by humanitarian crises and pay tribute to the humanitarian workers who help them. This year’s commemoration marks the fifteenth anniversary since the attack on the United Nations in Baghdad, Iraq, in which 22 of our colleagues were killed. Since that tragedy, which led to this day’s designation as World Humanitarian Day, over 4,000 aid workers have been killed, injured, detained or kidnapped. That is an average of 300 fellow humanitarians killed, detained or injured every year”
This year’s campaign asks people to sign a ‘living petition’ for the protection of civilians via social media. The living petition will project people’s faces, names and locations onto screens and a sculpture.
Join us at the 10th Anniversary AIDF Global Summit this September in Washington D.C to discuss the latest humanitarian challenges, including aid worker safety, humanitarian logistics, WASH and more.
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Image credit: World Humanitarian Day