In today’s volatile world, more than 100 million people need urgent, life-saving humanitarian aid just to survive. More than 60 million have been forced from their homes, in the worst displacement since the Second World War.
Dissemination of aid would not be possible without dedicated humanitarian workers around the world. This is why the UN general assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day, in memory of the 22 colleagues killed in the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad. It is a day to remember and pay tribute to all humanitarian workers killed as they seek to help the world’s most vulnerable people.
During 2014, 10 humanitarian workers lost their lives each month. Violent attacks against humanitarian workers were recorded in 27 countries. Those at greatest risk are often the national staff of aid organizations, women and men from countries affected by crises. Today we also celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the world. This spirit knows no national or cultural boundaries.
Violence and insecurity hamper the delivery of aid in many of today’s crises. This is unacceptable. The world should show zero tolerance to those in conflicts who flagrantly fail to respect and protect humanitarian workers in accordance with international humanitarian law.