19 August: World Humanitarian Day

The World Humanitarian Day is observed every year on August 19 across the world to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service.

Purpose of this day: (i) Provide opportunity to celebrate spirit that inspires humanitarian work around globe. (ii) Pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service and (iii) Rally support for people affected by crisis around the world.

2019 WHD theme campaign: #WomenHumanitarians. It seeks to honour work of women in crises throughout the world. Women humanitarians make up large number of those who risk their own lives to save others. They are often first to respond and the last to leave and dedicate their lives to helping people affected by crises.

World Humanitarian Day

It was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution A/63/L.49 in 2008. It was sponsored by Sweden and was passed by UNGA on Strengthening of Coordination of Emergency Assistance of UN. Since 2009, this day is observed annually by humanitarian community across the world to ensure safety and security of humanitarian aid workers and for their well-being, survival and dignity of people affected by crisis.

Why August 19? The day marks death of then Special Representative of Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues who were killed in bombing in Baghdad, Iraq on August 19, 2003.


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