19th August, recognized worldwide as the World Humanitarian Day by United Nations General, is dedicated to acknowledge the efforts of humanitarian personnels for their relentless and selfless contribution towards the community. The day is marked in honour of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq and his 21 colleagues who were killed during the bombings of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on 19th August 2003.
The Day not only celeberates the extraordinary efforts of 17 million volunteers, 0.5 million social workers with footprints of their humanitarian actions spread across 190 countries but also recognizes the efforts of glorified souls who have lost their lives in the service of vulnerable.
As per estimate, more than 130 million people around the world, who are victims of wars, natural disasters, extreme poverty and violence are in urgent need of humanitarian help for basic survival. However, it has been found that during the course of providing help, around millions of workers have been injured or lost their lives during the volunteer work and there has been no concrete policy or action to extend any support to the volunteers affected during contingent situations and felicitate them who have gone out of their way for saving and helping billions during critical situations.
In Syria alone, around 60 social workers providing aid to the war victims have died. The recent news of 65 year old Khalid Abdullah, a Red Crescent volunteer associated with the organization since 30 years being shot dead while organizing food distribution in Taiz, raised lot of rage over the inhuman activities rising around the world.
Although most of the people seeking help are either victims of wars or natural disasters and ironically it has been found that more than 60 million children alone have been homeless in the war hit countries. Records reckon that around 218 million people were severely affected by natural disasters in past two decades costing around $300 billion to the global economies of the world.
The theme of World Humanitarian Day 2016 is “One Humanity”. A wreath-laying ceremony will be held in New York at the United Nations headquarters preceding by a high-level event organized in the General Assembly Hall in remembrance and honour of dedicated humanitarians throughout the world.
The World Humanitarian Day has not only provoked the thought process and embarked the initiatives towards recognizing and remembering the efforts of millions of social workers dedicated towards humanitarian deeds irrespective of race, ethinicity and religion.
“World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering. It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises. I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
By – Manisha Bhatia
Media & Communications