World Humanitarian Day: 19th August

This year, World Humanitarian Day is observed on the 19th August to bring attention to the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers, and those affected by crises around the world.

Figures from the United Nations demonstrate that 91 aid workers were killed in 2016, while a further 88 were injured. These attacks took place in five major countries; Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Syria, and Afghanistan. Not only do the attacks against aid workers devastate humanitarian aid operations, but they also drastically affect the lives of those relying on aid for survival.

The UN General Assembly marked 19th August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008; after the Canal Hotel bombing which killed 22 humanitarian aid workers on 19th August, 2003. The day also follows a report earlier this year by the UN secretary-general on the protection of civilians in conflict.

The day serves as a tribute to all aid workers who risk their lives providing others with humanitarian assistance, and to bring attention to the attacks forcing children, families, and communities apart.

The hashtag, #notatarget, serves as a reminder that civilians caught in conflict are not a target, and that enhanced respect for international human rights and humanitarian law will lead to the path to protection.

Civilians are #notatarget – watch the full World Humanitarian Day film here:

Phoebe Egoroff

Founder and of Jurist International, a website focusing on the latest developments in international human rights and criminal law.

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