Celebrating humanitarian heroes

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19 August 2014 -  Last year, more humanitarian workers were kidnapped, seriously injured or killed than ever before. Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we commemorate all people who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world.

World Humanitarian Day falls on 19 August, the day in 2003 when 22 aid workers were killed in a bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

Attacks on neutral humanitarian workers have risen sharply during the last decade. In 2003, seven humanitarians were kidnapped, in 2013 the figure had increased to 132. In the same period, the number of humanitarian workers killed has gone up from 87 to 155.  Just in the past few weeks, dozens of humanitarians have lost their lives in South Sudan and Gaza.

WHD 2014 1

In his message for World Humanitarian Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states:  “Let us honour the fallen by protecting those who carry on their work, and supporting humanitarian relief operations worldwide”.  He further asks us to recognize the millions of people who count on humanitarians for their very survival, as attacks on humanitarian workers hinder the ability of people in desperate need to receive lifesaving assistance.

In the past 10 years, the number of people affected by humanitarian crises has almost doubled, and is expected to keep on rising. A number of global trends like climate change, population growth, unplanned urbanization, mass migration, food and water insecurity are causing an increasing number of disasters.

With more people than ever in need of humanitarian assistance, we continue to count on humanitarians - on people committed to making a difference across the world. Today, we celebrate the efforts that these people make, we celebrate humanity and solidarity.