UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday saluted aid workers in his video message on World Humanitarian Day, observed annually on August 19.
The hundreds of thousands of aid workers globally who dedicate their lives to assist people in need represent “the best in humanity,” said the top UN official.
“Far from the spotlight and out of the headlines, humanitarians work around the clock to make our world a better place,” he said.
“Against incredible odds, often at great personal risk, they ease suffering in some of the most dangerous circumstances imaginable,” he added.
The UN General Assembly designated World Humanitarian Day in 2008 to commemorate the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 aid workers.
This year’s theme — “It takes a village” — highlights the fact that whenever and wherever people are in crisis, there are others who will help them.
“This village includes affected people who are always first to respond when disasters strike — neighbors helping neighbors. It includes a global community pulling together to support them as they recover and rebuild,” the UN chief said.
“And it includes hundreds of thousands of individual humanitarians — volunteers and professionals alike. Delivering health care and education. Food and water. Shelter and protection. Help and hope.”
The number of people who need humanitarian assistance has never been higher, due to conflicts, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, hunger and unprecedented levels of displacement. World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to celebrate humanitarians everywhere, said Guterres.
“We salute their dedication and courage, and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in pursuit of this noble cause. They represent the best of humanity,” he said.