United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the power of individual actions to spark global changes, and praised the work of humanitarian workers who provide assistance to vulnerable people around the world.
“This year's World Humanitarian Day presents an historic opportunity to bring together one billion people from around the world to advance a powerful and proactive idea: people helping people,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking the Day.
“From international efforts to avert a hunger crisis in West Africa to urgent assistance to civilians in Syria, to a single good deed from one neighbour to the next, the spirit of people helping people improves conditions for all,” Mr. Ban said. “That is the best way to honour the many fallen aid workers we mourn today, and to celebrate the efforts of others who carry on their noble mission by rushing assistance to those who are suffering.”
The General Assembly proclaimed 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008 to commemorate the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, Iraq, which claimed the lives of 22 UN staff members, including the world body's top envoy to the Middle Eastern country, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded more than 150 people.
The Day aims to honour those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions, in addition to drawing attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in meeting those needs.
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155, Block C2,7th and 8th floor, Brussels 1040, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 788 8484 / Fax: 32 2 788 8485