SECRETARY-GENERAL’S MESSAGE FOR WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY
New York, 19 August, 2023
This year’s World Humanitarian Day marks the 20th anniversary of the deadly attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad.
On that dark day, we lost 22 colleagues, including Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello.
That tragedy marked a change in the way humanitarians operate.
Because today, although humanitarians are respected around the world, they may also be targeted by those who would do them harm.
This year, global humanitarian operations aim to get life-saving aid to 250 million people in 69 countries – ten times more than at the time of the Canal Hotel bombing.
Sadly, funding is far off track. As crises multiply, it is unacceptable that humanitarians are being forced to reduce aid to millions of people in need.
Other challenges have also multiplied over the past twenty years:
Rising geopolitical tensions;
A blatant disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law;
Deliberate assault and disinformation campaigns.
Humanitarianism itself is now under attack.
But these tests have made the global humanitarian community stronger.
Humanitarians – who are mostly national staff working in their own countries – are even closer to the people they serve.
They are finding new ways to venture deeper into disaster-stricken regions, and closer to the front lines of conflict, driven by a single purpose: to save and protect lives.
On this World Humanitarian Day, we salute the courage and dedication of humanitarian aid workers everywhere.
We reaffirm our full support for their determined and life-saving efforts across the world.
We celebrate their unwavering dedication to serve ALL people in need:
No matter who, no matter where; no matter what.