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World Humanitarian Day: The day to remember humanitarian workers and do something good

We want the world to say 'I WAS HERE', and on August 19th commit to doing something good, somewhere, for someone else.


Music video by Beyoncé performing I Was Here. (C) 2012 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

Ahead of World Humanitarian Day (19 August 2012), the United Nations today launched a global campaign – featuring the music of performing artist Beyoncé – to highlight humanitarian work and encourage people to get involved by doing something good for others.  

 “World Humanitarian Day celebrates humanitarian work,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said in a news release. “I hope everyone will pledge to complete at least one humanitarian action – however great or small – through Together we can create an unprecedented awareness of the plight of people affected by crises around the world.”

The General Assembly proclaimed 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008 to commemorate the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, which claimed the lives of 22 UN staff members, including the world body’s top envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded more than 150 people.

The Day aims to honour those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions, in addition to drawing attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in meeting those needs.

Since this time last year, five UNHCR staff members have lost their lives in the line of duty in Afghanistan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On World Humanitarian Day, we will take the opportunity to remember and pay tribute to them, and to mark our solidarity with their families.     

We encourage everyone to participate in events organized by UN Country Teams to mark the occasion, and to participate in the global advocacy campaign organized by OCHA (see