World Humanitarian Day is held every year on 19th August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.
World Humanitarian Day was established in 2008 by the United Nations General Assembly and was first officially celebrated in 2009. The date of 19th August was chosen as it marks the anniversary of the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, an event in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello and twenty two others lost their lives.
Last year, the Day focused on female humanitarians, sharing the stories of 24 women who had effected change in cities and towns and villages globally.
This year World Humanitarian Day comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months. Aid workers are overcoming many challenges to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Humanitarian Day 2020: A tribute to aid workers on the front lines
On August 19, the eleventh year that we have marked World Humanitarian Day, we are paying special tribute to the #RealLifeHeroes who have committed their lives to helping others in the most extreme circumstances throughout the world.
The campaign focuses on what drives humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, lack of access and risks linked to COVID-19.
This year, COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge to humanitarian operations around the world. The lack of access and restrictions placed by Governments around the world has resulted in communities, civil society and local NGOs being the frontline of the response.
Therefore, the campaign presents the inspiring personal stories of humanitarians who are treating and preventing COVID-19, providing food to vulnerable people in need, providing safe spaces for women and girls in lockdown; delivering babies; fighting locusts and running refugee camps, all amid the COVID-19 pandemic.