World Humanitarian Day (Canada)

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August 19th is designated as World Humanitarian Day (WHD) by the United Nations.  The General Assembly designated WHD to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.  WHD honors those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service, honors those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions, and seeks to draw attention to humanitarian needs worldwide, as well as the importance of international cooperation in meeting these needs.

This year the UN and partners are advocating for the protection of civilians, aid workers, and all those affected by conflict.  WHD 2017 will be dedicated to increasing public awareness of so that action may be taken on it.  Humanitarian aid workers endeavor to provide life-saving assistance to disaster-affected communities everywhere in the world with no discrimination of any kind.  Anyone can be a humanitarian; many people affected by disasters are generally the first to reach out to others in their communities and offer aid.  While humanitarian aid workers can be international, many work in the country they are from; they reflect all cultures, ideologies and backgrounds.

When we think of humanitarian work, we often think of people responding to emergencies, but this isn’t the only form of humanitarian work; they also support rebuilding efforts after disasters, as well as helping communities become more resilient to future crises and advocating for those affected.  They also strive to build lasting and sustainable peace in areas of conflict.

For more information on World Humanitarian Day and resources associated with it, please visit http://www.un.org/en/events/humanitarianday/.