Every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-made. -Pope Benedict XVI
Today is a day to remember the millions of people affected by war, natural disasters, sickness, and famine, and especially those who are working to relieve their suffering. Today, known as World Humanitarian Day, is a special day dedicated to Humanitarians and their noble works.
World Humanitarian Day is a day devoted to humanitarians, as well as to increase public understanding of humanitarian support activities. This day falls on the 19th August every year. On this fateful day in 2003, 22 aid workers lost their lives in a bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad including the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Since August 2009, this day is observed to honor all people who have given their lives to humanitarian service, as well as to celebrate humanitarian work around the world.
Humanitarian workers have no other agenda than saving lives and delivering the basic needs which are food, water, shelter, medical care, and protection for the most vulnerable. Interestingly, yet in many places where humanitarians are needed, today, they are often targeted. They place their own lives at risk to help others in conflict zones and areas of natural hazards. More than 700 humanitarian workers have died or experienced the most dangerous situations while trying to help those in need.
Those who are in need desperately require our help, but our ability to reach them is, sadly, increasingly challenged. Added to the complexity, each year, there are new and difficult challenges that will require more flexible funding and adaptable humanitarian work. The increasing economic crisis and global challenges such as poverty, global health problems, increase prices and the rising number of people on the move, upsurges the need for humanitarians. This condition is also reflected on this year's theme, 'More People than Ever Need Help'
Together with this year's theme, we, at World Assembly of Youth (WAY), confidently speak on behalf of youth in order for them to understand the human desire to live in a better world, but this will not be so without any effort. We also raise awareness on issues like gender equality, hunger and poverty and much more as gaining access to youth is our uppermost priority. It is, thus, an appropriate moment to call for a renewed commitment to humanitarian principles by all concerned.
On this World Humanitarian Day, let us once again remember the millions of people in need of help around the world, the humanitarians who have lost their lives and loved ones in the course of their work as well as the thousands of aid workers who have refused to be deterred and followed in their footsteps.
Happy World Humanitarian Day!