Date: Saturday, 19th August 2023; 15th Anniversary.
Sponsor: United Nations
World Humanitarian Day is annually observed for the following purposes:
- to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes,
- to honor and raise support for the humanitarian workers who risk, and sometimes lose, their lives to help others,
- to raise awareness of the plight of civilians around the world who have become caught up in conflicts.
Globally, over 160 million people are currently in crisis either through war or natural disasters and need humanitarian aid. Each year, millions of humanitarian aid workers dedicate to provide life-saving assistance to suffering people all over the world. They work every day to make the world a better place for the less fortunate, the underprivileged, and the people living in places of conflicts, starvation, and pestilence. Many aid workers, especially those who live in conflict zones or in areas devastated by natural disasters, may put their lives in danger working in humanitarian causes.
The World Humanitarian Day was held for the first time on 19 August 2009
On 3 December 2008, the World Humanitarian Day was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in the resolution A/63/L.49 – entitled “Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations”.
The date of 19th August was designated as it marks the anniversary of the bombing of an UN conference center in Baghdad, Iraq, an event occurred on 19 August 2003, in which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mellothe, and 21 fellow humanitarians lost their lives.
How to observe the World Humanitarian Day:
Globally, the World Humanitarian Day is honored and celebrated annually in a range of ways from fundraising, lectures, and other events aiming at raising and spreading awareness. Each year, the World Humanitarian Day commemoration focuses on a specific theme identified and suggested by the United Nations.
Annual theme in recent years:
2022 theme: “It Takes a Village”. This theme derives from a saying – “it takes a village to raise a child”, suggesting that it takes a village to support a person in a humanitarian crisis.
2021 theme: “The Human Race”, highlighting the immediate consequences of the climate emergency for the world’s most vulnerable people.
2020 theme: “Providing Life-Saving Support During the Pandemic”.
2019 theme: “Women Humanitarians”, honoring women humanitarians who have acted as first responders to the darkest hours of crisis.
2018 theme: “Not A Target”, highlighting the outrage of targeting those who provide aid in conflict.
2017 theme: “Not A Target”, reaffirming that civilians caught up in war zones should not become targets.
2016 theme: “One Humanity’”
2015 theme: “Inspire the World’s Humanity”
2014 theme: “Humanitarian Heroes”
2013 theme: “The World Needs More…”
2012 theme: “I Was Here”
2011 theme: “People Helping People”
2010 theme: “We Are Humanitarian Workers”
Sérgio Vieira de Mello was born in Brazil. He dedicated a lifetime spanning over three decades in the United Nations, serving in some of the most challenging humanitarian situations in the world to reach the victims of armed conflict, alleviate their suffering and draw public attention to their plight. His death, together with 21 fellow humanitarians on 19 August 2003 in Baghdad, deprived the humanitarian community of a unique humanitarian leader and an outstanding intellectual whose thinking, philosophy and courage inspired all and remains a timeless legacy for coming generations to emulate.