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 worldwide.
Conflict is taking a massive toll on people’s lives around the world. Trapped in wars not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes and communities are torn apart, At the same time, health workers and aid workers—who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence—are increasingly being targeted. But the world is not doing enough to end their suffering.
For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget. Through a global online campaign featuring an innovative partnership with Facebook Live, together with events held around the world, we will raise our voices to advocate for the most vulnerable people in war zones, and demand that world leaders do everything in their power to protect civilians in conflict.
This campaign follows the UN Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, which was launched earlier this year. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, the Secretary-General calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers, as well as civilian infrastructure.
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