World Humanitarian Day honored people who risk their lives for others

Topics: Asia, International Humanitarian Law
August 13, 2012

World Humanitarian Day honors people who risk their lives for others

August 19 was World Humanitarian Day, an event created in remembrance of the individuals who died in the 2003 bombing of the United Nations (UN) headquarters and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Baghdad. In addition, the day of observance is meant to show appreciation for people who are currently giving their time to help vulnerable individuals and those affected by emergencies and disasters around the globe.

According to a report from the ICRC, a significant, yet often overlooked, humanitarian issue today is violence against healthcare personnel. Attacks on providers, facilities and ambulances have been recorded in regions across the globe, such as Sri Lanka, Somalia, Libya, Lebanon and Bahrain. 

The danger these individuals face underscores their bravery, and their work does not go unnoticed.

However, the need for humanitarian services is immense, as millions of people are affected by war, poverty, disease outbreaks and severe weather. Individuals who are willing and able to provide relief may not only save lives, but also improve the quality of life for marginalized populations.

The Canadian Red Cross aims to give each and every Canadian the chance to be a humanitarian through volunteer opportunities in Canada and public engagement efforts for crises around the globe. Our vision is to cultivate a society of engaged, informed and compassionate individuals who have a shared goal of alleviating human suffering.

Becoming a volunteer or even just simply making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross is an great way to recognize the contribution that  humanitarians make to this world, as the organization offers a wide variety of services across Canada as well as overseas.

Educators who want to encourage their students to learn more about humanitarianism on a global scale can look into the Canadian Red Cross' Exploring Humanitarian Law program, which is designed to help teachers educate individuals about international humanitarian law. Many instructors have found success with the program in fostering a learning environment focused on giving back to the world's most vulnerable individuals.

Additionally, the Canadian Red Cross offers toolkits for youth to learn about issues relating to international humanitarian law, including examining the impact of conflict children around the world and the impact that  weapons, especially landmines and cluster munitions, can have on civilians.

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