Delivering Aid, Despite the Risks
They provide life-saving assistance to millions of people around the world. They work in conflict zones and areas of natural hazards. They place their own lives at risk. They are the thousands of workers providing humanitarian aid to people worldwide, who are often direct targets of those who have no respect for the humanitarian nature of their work.
In the last decade, more than 700 humanitarian workers have made the ultimate sacrifice while striving to help those most in need in some of the world’s most hostile environments. Thousands more have endured bombing, kidnapping, attacks, hijacking, robbery and rape.
On 19 August 2003, a truck packed with a ton of explosives deliberately drove into the United Nations office in Iraq, killing 22 people. Among them was Sergio Vieira de Mello, then the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, long-time humanitarian and a tireless servant of those affected by disaster and conflict. Paying tribute to Sergio, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: "He never once hesitated to take on difficult, even dangerous assignments. Victims of conflict and disasters throughout the world came to know him as someone who understood their plight and knew how to deliver results despite enormous obstacles."
The United Nations General Assembly has chosen to dedicate this day, 19 August, to honour all humanitarians.
For their selfless courage in facing the challenges of an imperfect world and their inspirational mission to improve it, humanitarians deserve not only our praise. They also deserve our firm commitment to help ensure their safety and security in the line of duty.
For more details, visit OCHA’s website