Every year, on August 19, World Humanitarian Day is an occasion to honour the invaluable contribution of humanitarian workers who risk their lives every day to save the lives of others.
World Humanitarian Day marks the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, when 22 humanitarian workers were killed. Ever since, the date is an opportunity to pay respect to all humanitarian workers around the globe, but also to strengthen the understanding of and respect for International Humanitarian Law.
Over the past two decades, the increasing violations of humanitarian principles, the steady rise of insecurity and continuous conflicts have been impeding humanitarian workers from delivering much-needed life-saving support.
Almost 4 000 workers have been victims of major attacks since 1997. Over one third of them were killed.
The European Union is firmly committed to promoting global respect and compliance with International Humanitarian Law, together with the principles that guide humanitarian action – humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.
See how the Commission supported World Humanitarian Day 2015.
European Commission's humanitarian expert deployed in Ukraine. © UNHCR/Y.Gusyev, Eastern Ukraine March 2015