The Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq commemorates World Humanitarian Day
(Independent) On the tenth anniversary of World Humanitarian Day, which falls today, the United Nations honors the contribution of nearly a quarter of a million aid workers who provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.
This year, the United Nations and its partners launched the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] global campaign to honor women working to save lives and alleviate human suffering.
International Humanitarian Day in Iraq is of particular importance, as it was commemorated on the anniversary of the 19 August 2003 attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 people, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq. ” .
Over the past 16 years, more than 4,500 humanitarian workers have been killed, injured, detained, abducted or otherwise prevented from doing their jobs. More than 90 per cent of all attacks around the world were on local staff. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day. ”
“As a member of the UN Women's High Command where I have worked in a number of emergency contexts, commemorating today is important to me personally,” said Marta Ruedas, Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. "I have seen for myself the sacrifices that humanitarian organizations and communities have to make to help those affected by crises in some of the most dangerous places in the world."
Humanitarian workers make up more than 40 per cent of all relief workers worldwide. Informally, the numbers are much higher, because women are often the unknown heroes on the front lines of the world's most difficult and dangerous places. As members of affected communities, they are active in every aspect of the humanitarian response, from disaster management to the delivery of emergency supplies; from the distribution of food to the provision of medical care.
Women's participation in the humanitarian response makes relief operations more effective in terms of humanitarian access. In many settings, women humanitarian workers have unique access to women and girls and can provide vital support and services to people who may be inaccessible. Women's participation improves the humanitarian response to sexual violence, which increases during emergencies. This can be crucial for those living in protracted humanitarian crises, such as displaced people in Iraq. Female-headed IDP families are among the most vulnerable in Iraq, particularly those believed to have links to ISIS. They defy great difficulties and enormous societal pressure to provide their families with shelter, food, clothing and education.
“On this International Humanitarian Day, we take this opportunity to showcase the tireless work of some ideal women in the humanitarian community in Iraq. The dedication of these women - whether they are UN staff, NGO workers, local staff or ordinary Iraqi women trying to help their country rebuild - is indeed commendable.
In August 2008, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 August as a World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness of humanitarian assistance worldwide and pay tribute to people who risk their lives for assistance. In honor of the 22 people who lost their lives in the 2003 attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. World Humanitarian Day was first celebrated on 19 August 2009.
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