A Tribute to Aid and Health Workers
Why Do We Celebrate WHD?
World Humanitarian Day is observed on August 19 and honors the dedication and commitment of relief workers to serving humanity. Established by the United Nations in 2009, this day commemorates the anniversary of the bomb attack on the United Nation’s headquarters in the Canal Hotel of Baghdad on August 19, 2003. The attack resulted in 22 deaths, including the then High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sérgio Vieira de Mello.
Who is Sérgio Vieira de Mello?
Sérgio was born and raised in Brazil and brought relief and aid to victims for three decades, while working tirelessly to assemble the draft for the appointment of World Humanitarian Day. His campaign efforts were to bring awareness to the humanitarian approach of viewing wars, focusing on innocent lives struggling to survive. After this incident, the Sérgio Vieira Mello Foundation and de Mello’s family worked with the Ambassadors of France, Switzerland, Japan, and Brazil at both the Geneva and New York tables to draft the dedication of the special day. Five years later, the United Nations officially initiated the first World Humanitarian Day to pay tribute to humanitarian workers lost and injured in the course of their work
How to Celebrate WHD
Humanitarian aid workers provide life-saving assistance to suffering people all over the world, and those living in conflict zones or in areas affected by natural disasters are especially vulnerable. A couple of ways you can observe World Humanitarian Day include donating to a humanitarian group in need of resources, and doing some humanitarian work in your community, such as volunteering at a homeless shelter, nursing home, or hospital. Search online for humanitarian organizations, or go directly to the UN’s World Humanitarian Day website for resources. This is the day to honor all aid and health workers who continue to provide life-saving aid to alleviate people’s suffering and maintain human dignity.