World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day is observed annually on August 19th. The purpose of this holiday is to honor all of the humanitarians who have tirelessly worked to further and promote a variety of humanitarian causes, all over the world. It is also a day to remember those people who have lost their lives in the service of a humanitarian cause. The final purpose of this U.N. sanctioned holiday is to raise the public’s awareness about humanitarian assistance activities that occur all over the globe and the importance of countries coming together to solve the world’s problems.

History of World Humanitarian Day

Established by the United Nations General Assembly on December of 2008, World Humanitarian Day would become a holiday the epitomized one of the main purposes of the United Nations itself – to bring countries together to solve humanitarian issues. August 19th was chosen as the date for this holiday to be observed because that is the date when the Canal Hotel in Baghdad was bombed and over 20 people lost their lives – including Sergio Vieira de Mellothe, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq. World Humanitarian Day was officially celebrated for the first time on August 19th, 2009.

Over the last few years alone, thousands of humanitarian works have died all over the world trying to get help to those who need it. Today, more than 130 million people are currently in crisis and are in need of humanitarian services of some sort. Services which include rebuilding after a natural disaster, helping people with the food and clean water they need or making sure that people have adequate access to medical attention.

It is estimated that in an average year, over 200 million people will be directly affect by natural disasters. It strikes women and children especially hard because in many areas, these two groups of people are already dealing with the ongoing struggles of environmental decline, poverty, hunger, lack of clean water and poor health. And each year brings a brand new set of challenges that have to be overcome all over the world. Which, in turn, increases the need for humanitarian workers.

World Humanitarian Day Customs & Traditions

World Humanitarian Day can be observed by honoring those humanitarians who’ve made a difference, by getting the word out about the holiday, advocating for the people who may need humanitarian assistance or by donating time and money to a humanitarian cause.

Organizations all over the world may host of a variety of different events on this day. These events may include lectures, exhibits, presentations, debates or other such activities. A variety of fundraisers may also be held on this day. These can include charity concerts, blood drives, or food drives.

Every year, the United Nations presents a different theme for World Humanitarian Day. These themes are intended to bring attention to a particular aspect of humanitarian assistance activities and/or the problems these workers have to deal with. For instance, in 2010, the theme of this holiday was “We are Humanitarian Workers;” In 2013, the theme was “The World Needs More…;” and in 2016, the theme was “One Humanity.”

When is it?
This year (2023)
August 19 Saturday
Next year (2024)
August 19 Monday
Last year (2022)
August 19 Friday
Awareness & Cause, United Nations