World Humanitarian Day (August 19th)

Established by the General Assembly (GA) of the United Nations in December 2008, 19 August 2009 is the first World Humanitarian Day.

The designation of the Day is a way to increase public understanding of humanitarian assistance activities worldwide.

The Day also aims to honour humanitarian workers who have lost their lives or been injured in the course of their work.


Why 19 August?

Six years ago, on 19 August 2003, the United Nations office in Iraq was bombed and 22 people lost their lives. Among them was Sergio Vieira de Mello, at that time the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq.
While there have been many other fatal incidents involving humanitarian personnel the General Assembly decided to use the anniversary of this incident as World Humanitarian Day.

What is planned?

For 2009 the Day will have three areas of focus:

❚ To draw attention to humanitarian needs worldwide;

❚ To acknowledge the ongoing work of humanitarian staff around the globe;

❚ To honour those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service.

The Day will be marked around the world with events, concerts and commemorations

More information available at

Last modified on 19/08/2009

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