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World Humanitarian Day: Date, History, Theme, Significance, and More

World Humanitarian Day, observed annually on August 19, pays tribute to humanitarian efforts worldwide and commemorates the attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad. This day acknowledges the courageous work of humanitarians who venture into disaster-stricken areas to save and protect lives.

History: The United Nations General Assembly established World Humanitarian Day on August 19 in 2008. This date was chosen to honor the memory of individuals who lost their lives in the 2003 Baghdad bombings, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq.

Theme: Each year, World Humanitarian Day centers around a theme that unites partners in the humanitarian field to advocate for the well-being, dignity, and survival of crisis-affected individuals. The 2023 theme, “No Matter What,” underscores the value, efficacy, and positive influence of humanitarian work globally.

Significance: As of mid-2023, UN data reveals that 362 million people require humanitarian assistance. Shockingly, 444 humanitarian aid workers encountered violence in 2022: 116 were killed, 143 wounded, and 185 kidnapped.

World Humanitarian Day holds immense importance as it spotlights the challenges faced by humanitarian workers when delivering aid to those in need. This observance also reaffirms the UN’s dedication to extending assistance to people in crisis while upholding the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. This year’s focus on “No Matter What” highlights the persistence of humanitarians in providing life-saving support regardless of obstacles.

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