By Jenni Wolfson

Today is World Humanitarian Day.  What does that mean?  It’s a day to raise awareness of what it means to be a humanitarian aid worker and provide a window into that world.  World Humanitarian Day also honours those who have been injured or killed in their work.  It was in fact designated in memory of the 22 people who died in the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad in 2003, but also in memory of the many aid workers who have lost their lives in the humanitarian cause.

I remember all the dear colleagues I have known who died in the field.  And most recently I think of the humanitarian workers who died in the Haiti earthquake and the 10 health workers who were brutally murdered this month in Afghanistan.  I think about the millions of people who have died or are suffering, often needlessly, as a result of wars, natural disasters, malnutrition and the list unfortunately goes on.

Today is also a day for celebration.  I am always inspired by the passion and commitment of all my colleagues at WITNESS and in other organizations who work tirelessly to prevent and stop human rights abuses.  And for all the human rights defenders out there using video and other tools to document what shouldn’t be going on this world but is, who take risks, who persevere too often against the odds, thank you!

In my view the definition of a humanitarian is broad. For all of you who support WITNESS and other causes, who care about human rights and humanitarian issues – you too are humanitarians, and this day is also yours.

Watch this video created by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in commemoration of World Humanitarian Day.

One thought on “Celebrate World Humanitarian Day

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