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UN honors the work of humanitarians who save lives

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  • Post last modified:19/08/2020
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KARACHI: On the occasion of the 11th World Humanitarian Day (19th of August, 2020) designated by the UN General Assembly, Secretary General António Guterres said that the UN honored the work of humanitarians who overcame huge challenges to save and improve the lives of millions of people.
“These real-life heroes are doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times to help women, men and children whose lives are upended by crises,” said the GS.
Noting that 2020’s World Humanitarian Day comes as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic António Guterres held:
“This year, humanitarian workers are stretched like never before. They are responding to the global crisis of COVID-19, and with it the massive increase in humanitarian needs from the fallout of the pandemic.
“The loss of jobs, education, food, water and safety is pushing millions more to the brink. Movement restrictions to slow the spread of the virus have meant that communities, civil society and local organizations – as so often before – are the very first responders.
“This year, we celebrate them: people who are often in need themselves, like refugees helping host communities, local health workers who care for the sick and vaccinate children, and humanitarians who negotiate access in areas of conflict to bring food, water and medicine.
“They are the unsung heroes of the pandemic response – and they all too often risk their own lives to save the lives of others.
“Today, join me in renewing our appreciation and support for the brave humanitarians, health workers and first responders who show solidarity and humanity in this time of unprecedented need,” António Guterres held in his message.
World Humanitarian Day falls on the day of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, which claimed the lives of 22 people including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Since then, nearly 5,000 humanitarians have been killed, wounded or abducted, and the 2010-2019 decade experienced a 117 per cent increase in attacks compared to 2000-2009.

In 2008, the UNGA designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness about humanitarian assistance worldwide and to pay tribute to the people who risk their lives to provide it.

World Humanitarian Day was observed for the first time on 19 August 2009 to commemorate all humanitarians who have lost their lives or got injured contributing to humanitarian causes and those who continue to serve.

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Last year was the most violent on record for humanitarians, with 483 attacked, 125 killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped. The UN condemns all attacks on humanitarians.
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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.