© Nazeer Al-Khatib/Stringer“Around the world, conflict is forcing record numbers of people from their homes, with over 65 million people now displaced. Children are recruited by armed groups and used to fight. Women are abused and humiliated. As humanitarian workers deliver aid and medical workers provide for those in need, they are all too often targeted or treated as threats.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.
This World Humanitarian Day we continue to bring attention to the millions of civilians affected by armed conflict every day. People in cities and towns struggle to find food, water, and safe shelter, while fighting drives millions from their homes. Children are recruited and used to fight, and their schools are destroyed. Women are abused and humiliated. As humanitarian workers deliver aid, and medical workers treat the wounded and sick, they are directly targeted, treated as threats, and prevented from bringing relief and care to those in desperate need.
The humanitarian concerns described here can’t possibly capture the lives of all those affected by conflict around the world. From people with disabilities, to the elderly, migrants, and journalists, all civilians caught in conflict need to be protected.
Join the #NotATarget movement and demand world leaders to do everything in their power to protect all civilians in conflict.
© ICRC/Marco Kokic
On 19 August 2003, a terrorist attack hit the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people. Among those who lost their lives was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN’s top representative in Iraq.
Five years later, the General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day. Every year since then, the humanitarian community has organized global campaigns to commemorate WHD, advocating for the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers, and for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises.