'World Humanitarian Day' observed worldwide
Aug.21, Geneva: With a record 130 million people worldwide now dependent on humanitarian assistance, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that though solutions to the crises that plunged these people into such desperate hardship are neither simple nor quick, “there are things we can all do, and every day. We can show compassion, we can raise our voices against injustice, and we can work for change.”
“World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering,” said Mr. Ban in his message on the Day, which he said is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises and pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk.
Noting that a record 130 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive, he said while these figures are truly staggering, they tell only a fraction of the story. Hidden behind the statistics are individual's families and communities whose lives have been devastated.
“From parents who must choose between buying food or medicine for their children to families who must risk bombing at home or a perilous escape by sea; their stories have led up to the creation of these initiatives,” said the UN chief.
“Today, I urge everyone to sign on to the United Nations World You'd Rather campaign, which is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), said Mr. Ban. The 17 global goals offer a 15-year plan to reduce need and vulnerability, promoting a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all
Earlier this year, 9,000 participants gathered in Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. World leaders committed to transform the lives of people living in conflict, disaster and acute vulnerability. They rallied behind the Agenda for Humanity and its pledge to leave no one behind.
The Secretary-General encouraged involvement as well as raising awareness and building empathy, the new campaign has a concrete goal: to raise money for the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and to enrol the support of individuals everywhere as Messengers of Humanity.
“On this World Humanitarian Day, let us unite in the name of humanity and show that we cannot and will not leave anyone behind,” said the Secretary-General.
At today's annual memorial service in honour of fallen UN staff on the anniversary of the Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said that “those who attack the United Nations want to make us afraid, feel weak and to retreat” but “those we honour today inspire us to be bold and determined to go forward.”
“This challenge we meet all over the world today – from Syria to South Sudan, from Yemen to Libya, from Somalia to Afghanistan, where humanitarian workers and peacekeepers have lost or are risking their lives,” he said.
Noting that 22 people were killed in the hotel bombing in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, Mr. Eliasson said that World Humanitarian Day is an occasion to recall and remember colleagues who lost their lives in their mission to help people in conflict and in desperate need.
The Oslo Times International News Network