World Humanitarian Day Date in the current year: August 19, 2016

World Humanitarian Day World Humanitarian Day is an annual United Nations observance that was officially proclaimed in 2008 and first celebrated on August 19, 2009. It was established to honor humanitarian personnel and those who lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.

The date of the observance was chosen to commemorate the Canal Hotel bombing, which killed Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Iraq. On August 19, 2003, a suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, killing Vieira de Mello and his 21 colleagues who worked for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq.

World Humanitarian Day is a tribute to the humanitarian personnel who were killed while relieving the suffering of victims of humanitarian crises. It is also meant to encourage all serving humanitarian personnel to try their best to make this world a better place.

World Humanitarian Day is marked with events and activities organized by the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Foundation in collaboration with the governments of the Member States, the UN organizations, international organizations and NGOs. Each year, events focus on a particular theme. In 2013, the UN and its partners launched the “The World Needs More...” campaign to mark the day.

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World Humanitarian Day, UN observance, United Nations observance, Sérgio Vieira de Mello