World Humanitarian Day
Thirteen years ago today, a bomb targeting a UN Assistance Mission in Iraq killed 22 people and wounded more than 100.
Of the dead was UN Special Envoy Sérgio Vieria de Mello, a Brazillian, who spent much of his career working in war-torn areas around the world. He organized food aid, shelter, and other types of relief to refugees. He helped clear land mines in Cambodia and Yugoslavia. He negotiated a settlement for hostages in Fiji, and inspected the Abu Ghraib prison before it was rebuilt.
While working in the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, a suicide bomber drove a truck bomb into the hotel at the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda at the time.
According to the Aid Worker Security Database, 1,026 humanitarian personnel have died since the Canal Hotel Bombing. 156 were killed in 2013 alone.
World Humanitarian Day commemorates de Mello and all humanitarian personnel who lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.
Humanitarians support communities as they rebuild their lives after disasters.
They advocate for the voiceless.
They strive to build lasting and sustainable peace in areas torn by conflict and war.
Everyone can be a humanitarian.
Even here at home.