World Humanitarian Day
World Humanitarian Day (WHD) raises awareness on the living conditions of the millions of civilians suffering from violence in conflict areas. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to humanitarian volunteers and workers who risk their life every day to help people in distress.
Since 2008, the United Nations celebrate World Humanitarian Day on 19 August. This date was chosen in memory of UN personnel who had died in the attack against the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq in 2003.
This year, on Friday 19 August 2017, World Humanitarian Day is dedicated to the protection of civilians in conflict zones. Civilians are always the first victims of war. And the humanitarian and medical workers who assist them are more and more targeted by terrorists or fighters. Unfortunately, attacks against hospitals have become regular. On 3 August for instance, a medical center of the Red Cross has been targeted by an attack, in the Central African Republic. Six volunteers died, among other civilian victims.
The UN and its humanitarian agency OCHA have denounced an alarming situation and call for action. A new website was launched to present a list of the different humanitarian emergencies (sexual violence, displaced population, attacks on volunteers, etc) in regions in conflict. It also suggests relevant actions to be taken by leaders of these areas in order to protect civilians.
On social media, the campaign #NotATarget, launched by OCHA for WHD, recalls that civilians and humanitarians are not targets. On Friday, Facebook will set up a dedicated filter in order to spread the call for solidarity throughout the world. On Twitter, the hashtag #NotATarget is already used to reference the UN key messages for World Humanitarian Day.