World Humanitarian Day 2014, Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation

Sergio Vieira de Mello

World Humanitarian Day 2014


The World Becoming a More Violent

Place for Humanitarian Workers

The world has become a very dangerous place for humanitarian workers, as World Humanitarian Day 2014 celebrated the commitment of those men and women bringing relief and assistance to victims of war and natural catastrophes.

Last year was the most dangerous on record for humanitarian workers. According to Humanitarian Outcomes report on Aid Workers Security, 155 were killed, 171 seriously wounded and 134 kidnapped as they attempted to help others in some of the world’s most dangerous places. This represents a 66% increased from 2012.

The most dangerous country where to operate is Afghanistan where 81 humanitarian workers were killed in 2013. The others are, by order of importance, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Syria, Congo, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.

World Humanitarian Day – which marks the anniversary of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Bagdad on 19 August 2003 when 22 people died and among them the UN Secretary General Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello – is intended to highlight the plight of these unsung heroes of our time who are working when bombs are falling, houses are collapsing and disease is spreading.

Since this tragic episode in the history of humanitarian assistance, every year has brought more heartache as more and more humanitarian workers have been attacked, killed and abused. The number of attacks against them has quadrupled since 2003.

The world humanitarian organisations were united this year to say that, on a planet torn apart by conflicts, the world needs more humanitarian workers and not less. Thus, they must be protected.

“One aid worker killed in the line of duty is one too many”, said Valerie Amos, the Under-Secratry-General for Humanitarian affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

“The loss of these heroes is a loss to the entire humanitarian community – and the world”, added Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF. “We...honor the dedication of all the brave women and men who continue to do their jobs every day despite the risks in the service of our common cause: a more safe, just and peaceful world.”

Voices of UN agencies and NGO’s

UNDP: World Humanitarian Day: An international day to celebrate the humanitarian spirit

UN Human rights paying tribute in memory of those who lost their lives defending human rights

UN Secretary General statement


UNICEF: Protect those who work to protect children and families: UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake

OCHA: Humanitarian action - the compassion of peoples and states

WHO: calls for protection of health workers in conflicts, disasters

ICRC: Protection of humanitarian workers

Care International: CARE honours its humanitarian heroes

Oxfam: Controlled arms: Oxfam’s hope for the next World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day 2014 in the news/ OpEds

Recognizing Workers Who Push Through Daily Obstacles to Deliver Aid

Video Huffpost live : “What inspires these humanitarians”.

The Guardian: “Deaths of humanitarian aid workers reach record high

BBC: Westminster Abbey memorial to fallen aid workers planned

The Daily Star: Lebanon marks World Humanitarian Day

Brookings Institute : « Remembering humanitarian heroes »

L'Orient le jour: La neutralité, l’impartialité, l’humanité et l’indépendance d’action des travailleurs humanitaires

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