BEIRUT: Lebanon marked World Humanitarian Day Tuesday with an event hosted by the Social Affairs Ministry and U.N. agencies that paid tribute to Lebanese aid workers.
“Thousands of Lebanese citizens work in silence and dedication to help those who have lost everything, and this is the spirit representing the core of humanity,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon Ross Mountain said at the UNESCO Palace event.
Mountain, who is also the United Nations Development Program Resident Representative in Lebanon, hosted the event with Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas. It was attended by representatives of U.N. agencies in Lebanon, as well as local and international organizations working in the humanitarian field in the country.
Derbas praised the “courageous” decision by many citizens living in peace around the world to risk their lives by moving to areas with violent conflicts or diseases to help others.
"The international decisions of humanitarian aid and intervention are made in safe places,” he said, but we “owe those who left their homes and their families and voluntarily raced to implement [these] missions."
According to a U.N. press release Monday, “World Humanitarian Day is the one day to honor the thousands of humanitarians across the globe, many of whom risk their lives to help others.”
It takes place on the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the U.N. offices in Baghdad that killed 22 people.
The bombing, the responsibility for which was later claimed by Al-Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, prompted the U.N. General Assembly in 2008 to designate Aug. 19 as World Humanitarian Day.
“The death of one humanitarian worker on duty means the death of many,” U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Vallery Amos said, so on “World Humanitarian Day, we memorialize the sacrifices of those working in the field and we praise their work that helps the most vulnerable communities and supports them.”
The event was also a chance to launch the Messengers of Humanity project, an online community of global advocates that work to bring humanitarian action to their countries by coordinating with the U.N.