Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation

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World Humanitarian Day 2010

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WHD 2010

The second World Humanitarian Day took place on 19 August to honor and celebrate the work of humanitarian workers. The 19 of August has been chosen by the United Nations to commemorate the work of humanitarian workers as it marks the day when 22 employees of the UN, including the UN Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, were killed in a bomb attack in 2003 in Baghdad.

The 2010 edition focus was on the actual work and achievements of humanitarian workers in the field. This year’s theme was “We are humanitarian workers”. It was as well the occasion to remember and honor those who have lost their lives while helping others. A total of 102 humanitarian workers died in the exercise of their functions in 2009.

Humanitarian workers are forgotten heroes, heroes without whom there wouldn’t be any humanitarian assistance. Not only do they work in the worst places of the world, in extreme temperatures (high frost, extremely hot countries), threatened by diseases but in dangerous places as well where they risk their lives to help the destitute, the victims of wars or natural catastrophes, whatever their race, nationality, religious or political beliefs – with total neutrality.

The 2010 Day was commemorated everywhere in the world and more specifically in Geneva, capital of humanitarian assistance.

Under the leadership of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation and in collaboration with the UN organizations and nongovernmental organizations as well as with the support of the Geneva authorities, the event was held for the second time in the Parc des Bastions. The public was invited to come and talk, discuss, ask questions to humanitarian workers back from the field eager to explain their motivation, their work and their responsibilities.

Starting at 18:00, public was invited to stroll around the “Humanitarian Village” and stopped as they wish to a dozen stands where they were able to familiarize with the different stages of action to rescue victims of crises.

The event was launched by a « Humanitarian Walk » that started from la Plaine de Plainpalais at 17:30 heading to the « Humanitarian Village » at the Parc des Bastions. UN and NGO’s employees were wearing t-shirt with the words “I am a humanitarian worker”.

The Foundation is grateful that its initiative is getting more and more attention every year. A year ago, the World Humanitarian Day was commemorated in 41 countries of the world. The 2010 event was even more acknowledged. Many humanitarian agencies and organizations, governments and general public marked this special day. Individuals took initiatives, like the Australian musicians group, Fahrenheit 43, who dedicated a special song "The Reason" - about the need to help those less fortunated - for the World Humanitarian Day.

The Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has also created a collaborative film featuring aid workers from across the globe for this special day. The video, as well as the song The Reason and more information are available below.

+ Poster [PDF - 4 855 ko]
+ Flyer (Geneva) [JPGF - 314 ko]
+ Program of the event (Geneva) [PDF - 1 741 ko]
+ Program of the music event (Geneva) [PDF - 361 ko]
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations - Press release [PDF - 52 ko]
+ OCHA website


Special song "The Reason" - Fahrenheit 43

More info:

The 2010 World Humanitarian Day Film Project

United Nations Secretary-General Video Message





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