World Humanitarian Day Of 2017 – Civilians Are Not A Target

The World Humanitarian Day is one of the many days that are acknowledged by the United Nations.

The first World Humanitarian Day took place in the year 2009. It was adopted after the tragedy of Bagdad in 2003. The United Nations website writes about the calamity on the 19th of August in 2003 as follows.

A terrorist attack on the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad, on 19 August 2003, claimed the lives of 22 people.  Among those killed was the top United Nations envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr. Vieira de Mello had a long and distinguished UN career stretching over 30 years. Before being appointed to the human rights post in 2002, he was the UN Transitional Administrator in East Timor, and prior to that briefly held the position of Special Representative for Kosovo. He had extensive Headquarters, and field experience in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, including in Bangladesh, Sudan, Cyprus, Mozambique, Peru and Lebanon. The attack devastated the Canal Hotel, which served as a base for some 300 international UN personnel in Baghdad out of the 646 in Iraq altogether.

The above-mentioned website also has a list of the fallen staff members and other people that were caught in the crossfire of this disaster.

In 2009, UN came together and brought forth the World Humanitarian Day as they adopted a resolution designating to commemorate all those who are caught between the devastation of war, famine and terror through clause 26 in the resolution.

Decides to designate 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in order to contribute to increasing public awareness about humanitarian assistance activities worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in this regard, as well as to honor all humanitarian and United Nations and associated personnel who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause and those who have lost their lives in the cause of duty, and invites all Member States and the entities of the United Nations system, within existing resources, as well as other international organizations and non-governmental organizations, to observe it annually in an appropriate manner;

Humanitarianism at its core is simply the belief system to work towards the promotion of human welfare. To bring more attention to the world’s issues, a theme is followed to work for the advancement. In the year 2010, the theme was “We Are Humanitarian Workers;” in 2011, the UN focused its campaign on “People Helping People;” in 2012, the movement surrounded “I Was Here,” which encouraged everyone to concentrate on leaving their mark when they work for a better future.

world humanitarian day

The history of World Humanitarian Day does stem from tragedy and loss of precious life but it has brought on an attention on international issues that used to be swept under the rug.

This year’s theme for World Humanitarian Day is “Civilians Are Not A Target,” to take the focus on how modern warfare has left millions homeless, struggling to find food and water, having to shelter or help from the outside world.

world humanitarian day

“Not A Target,” not just looks upon the ones left with nothing, but also the children that are affected by the climates of war. Schools are destroyed, children are recruited to the fight in such wars and women are left with no families as most are murdered by the war or rather taken away to fight in such gruesome conflicts.

Families are displaced from their homes and communities are torn apart entirely, all the while, the world is clearly not doing enough to stop their suffering. Another horrible focus of these conflicts is turning towards aid workers that risk their lives to help the people affected by the violence as they are increasingly being targeted.

not a target

The humanitarian concerns which are described on the UN website for the World Humanitarian Day aren’t enough to capture the lives of all those affected by conflict around the world in any way or form. People from all walks of life, whether they are with disabilities, or are the elderly, are migrants, or journalists, all of them are caught in conflict and need to be protected desperately.

All over the world, wars and conflicts are inducing a terrible toll upon all the lives that are present in those areas of terror. They are confined in hostilities that aren’t their doing. Millions of them have been forced to either hide or run for their lives.


In 2013, the United Nations launched a project “The World Needs More…” along with its partners and in collaboration with media. This project encourages all philanthropists and private sector companies invest in, all depending on what they believe that the world needs more of.

World Humanitarian Day

You can help by signing the petition on the United Nations website, which is demanding world leaders do everything in their power to protect all civilians in conflict zones. You can download a toolkit from the same website in order to get truly get involved in the movement and look from the UN’s perspective on how you can help individually and internationally.

You can also be active on all platforms of social media for this day. Watch the video to understand the calamity by a slight fraction. Get involved by using “#NotATarget” on all social media tools on the 19th of August in 2017 to gain traction on this topic and help the UN get the most attention on this very important topic in the 21st century.



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