August 19, 2003 is remembered as a dark day in the history of the United Nations when 22 people who dedicated their lives to peace were killed by a terrorist attack who targeted the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. As a result of the tragic event, and in honour of the people who lost their lives, the General Assembly decided to designate 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in order to pay tribute to all aid workers around the world who are risking their lives on a daily basis for a greater cause.
From Syria’s sieges and civil wars, to Yemen’s slip towards famine, to the migration crisis disrupting countries across the world. All around the globe, various humanitarian crises affect the everyday life of a large number of people, with devastating consequences for the most vulnerable. Children do not have the opportunity to receive a quality education, which is caused by a limited access to schools. Furthermore, war zones lead to declining general welfare, limited healthcare, and to the displacement of entire population groups. Increasingly often, aid workers and other helpers are regarded as possible threats and targets. In order to prevent those tragedies, the global community must take a stand and act.
The United Nations, together with their member states, compiled the Sustainable Development Agenda to tackle these challenges, help those in need, and work side by side with the people who try desperately to eliminate the suffering of those affected by violence. The 3rd SDG attempts for example to ensure healthy lives and to promote well-being for all peoples of all ages. This goes hand in hand with the four pillars of the United Nations Partnership Framework, especially the fourth one which focuses on vulnerable groups and tries to eradicate poverty.
For WHD 2018, the United Nations will relaunch their successful worldwide social media campaign of last year to shine a light on the fact that civilians are still #NotATarget. Through this movement, people will have the opportunity to raise their voices and show their conviction that help is never a threat.
Not only can Namibians advocate for change by joining this movement but they can, in the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres: “[…] Shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict.”