Centre left: head and shoulders photo of author smiling. Centre right: white Soroptimist International logo. Below, white text reads: World Humanitarian Day, a blog by Berthe De Vos - Neven SI United Nations Representative, Geneva

World Humanitarian Day

SI UN Representative, Berthe De Vos-Neven, blogs from World Humanitarian Day at UN Geneva – August 19, 2022.

“The General Assembly of the UN has marked August 19th as “World Humanitarian Day” to create awareness around the problems aid workers and humanitarian helpers are daily facing in the crises and conflict zones.

World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to remember 22 UN colleagues, killed in 2003 at the UN Office in Baghdad, Iraq. But on the same moment it is the opportunity to pay tribute to all UN personnel, who have lost their lives during their duties and to honour aid workers across the globe, who continue to provide humanitarian help to people suffering from conflicts or disasters.

Symbolical every year World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is celebrated at the UN Geneva just at the entry of Room XX, the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations room, where the Human Rights Council frequently meets.

In collaboration with the Director General of the UNOG, the High Commissioner of HRC, the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Iraq and in the present of survivors and family members of those who lost their lives in the humanitarian service the special ceremony is held between 15h00 and 16h00. Some flower arrangements were laid down in front of the damaged UN flag of the Baghdad office.  Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, UNOG Director-General, Ms. Michelle Bachelet and OHCHR High Commissioner, spoke shortly during the ceremony pointing out that in 2022 still aid workers are killed, wounded, or kidnapped during their duties. They repeated the wise words: “It takes a village to raise a child”. In the world of today with plenty of humanitarian crisis, please appreciate the work of all those aid workers who deliver the needed protection, shelter, food etc. to all those in need, because “it takes a village to support a person in a crisis” (https://www.worldhumanitarianday.org).”


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