No matter what your background is, no matter who you are, these heroes will always help. We are not talking about someone wearing a cape or flashy costumes with superpower. This is about those who dedicate their lives to aiding those in need, sacrificing to protect communities, and positively impacting the world. These heroes are known as humanitarians. We commemorate World Humanitarian Day every 19th of August, with this year's theme for World Humanitarian Day being #NoMatterWhat. Let's dwelve deeper into Humanitarianism!
A humanitarian is an individual who expresses concern for others while striving to enhance and promote human welfare. Humanitarianism goes beyond a mere response to crises; it is a vast, articulated, evolving, and multiscale mesh of different actors, politics, and structures. It serves as a method of involvement to improve the world, embodying a worldwide philosophy motivated by a commitment to address human needs in extraordinary, imbalanced, or unequal circumstances. Just as heroes step up in times of crisis to protect and serve, humanitarians extend their hands to those affected by conflict, disasters, and adversity. Their actions reflect the essence of selflessness and a deep-seated desire to make the world a better place.
With the progression of humanitarian action, humanitarian principles are the foundation of humanitarian action to ensure the safety of humanitarians and facilitate their practical assistance to individuals in need.
Humanity refers to preserving human life, preventing and alleviating suffering, and upholding human dignity with all respect, no matter where they are
Neutrality means humanitarian aid must not favor or show preference to any side in conflicts or other disputes, no matter the hostility, challenges, or demands
Impartiality entails that aid distribution should be determined by necessity, without discrimination, no matter where they come from or what they believe
Independence ensures that humanitarian action is autonomous, no matter the political, economic, military, or other pressures
Humanitarian workers' duties may vary, from assisting people experiencing crises caused by conflicts, natural disasters, outbreaks, and other complex issues. No matter where natural disasters, violent conflicts, and other humanitarian crises tear societies apart and challenge human resilience, aid workers strive to preserve lives. Humanitarian workers include a diverse range of professionals, volunteers, and organizations that work tirelessly to provide assistance, relief, and support to those in need.
Emergency Responder, and more
Tragically, the prevalence of global humanitarian emergencies is increasing. Even as they offer life-saving aid, humanitarian workers have become victims of violence or lost their lives. In 2022, it was recorded that:
174 health-care workers were killed in 17 countries affected by conflict
79 humanitarian workers were killed in 17 conflict zones
At least 118 educators were killed, injured, or kidnapped across 13 countries
1,989 total reported incidents of violence against health facilities and health workers
704 incidents where health facilities were destroyed or damaged
On 19 August 2003, a bomb attacked the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, resulting in the loss of 22 humanitarian aid workers, including Sergio Vierira de Mello, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq. Five years later, the United Nations General Assembly declared 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
No matter the challenges,
No matter the obstacles,
No matter the hardship,
No matter the distance,
No matter the danger,
No matter the risk,
No matter what,
They are always ready to help and assist people in need, and today, we commemorate World Humanitarian Day, honor the unwavering dedication of humanitarian workers who tirelessly serve in the most challenging situations, and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed while fulfilling their duties.
- 2022 marks most violent year against health workers in conflicts: Report (2023) IntraHealth. Available at: https://www.intrahealth.org/news/2022-marks-most-violent-year-against-health-workers-conflicts-report (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- De Lauri, A. (2021) Humanitarianism: An overview - chr. michelsen institute. Available at: https://www.cmi.no/publications/file/7782-humanitarianism-an-overview.pdf (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- McDougal, T. (2023) 30 most impactful humanitarian careers, University of San Diego Online Degrees. Available at: https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/humanitarian-careers/#:~:text=A%20humanitarian%20is%20a%20person,unrest%20and%20health%20care%20emergencies. (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- Rysaback-Smith, H. (2016) History and principles of humanitarian action, Turkish journal of emergency medicine. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4910138/ (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (2023) World Humanitarian Day, World Humanitarian Day is coming soon. Available at: https://2023.worldhumanitarianday.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjw29ymBhAKEiwAHJbJ8nhm6XtsnWFQAiquarXyNTT6MVyETyKqLqa_rmn02try_tlUaQ5lYRoCN_gQAvD_BwE (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- Whenever and wherever people are in crisis, there are others who help them. #ittakesavillage (2022) World Humanitarian Day. Available at: https://2022.worldhumanitarianday.org/ (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- World Humanitarian Day (2023) United Nations. Available at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/humanitarian-day (Accessed: 12 August 2023)
- World Humanitarian Day: Changing Lives, changing the world (2022) EEAS. Available at: https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/world-humanitarian-day-changing-lives-changing-world_en (Accessed: 12 August 2023)