UNRWA Celebrates World Humanitarian Day

19 August 2010

19 August 2010

Today, 19 August 2010, the United Nations celebrates World Humanitarian Day, an opportunity to pay tribute to humanitarian workers the world over.

In 2008, a special session of the UN General Assembly designated the day “to honor all humanitarian and the United Nations and associated personnel who have lost their lives in the cause of duty and those who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause.” The day marks the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which killed 22 people and injured more than 100.

The day seeks to increase public awareness about humanitarian work and the importance of international co-operation. It also commemorates humanitarian personnel who have lost their lives in delivering responses, and those who work to promote the humanitarian cause.

Still image from World Humanitarian Day videoToday, the UN is marking the day by releasing a short film featuring United Nations staff worldwide. Shot in over 40 countries by humanitarian workers, with all time donated for free, the film aims to show the diversity of places, faces and endeavours of humanitarian aid workers in 2010.

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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