Government of Canada

Government of Canada

August 20, 2010 00:11 ET

Government of Canada Marks Second Annual World Humanitarian Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - August 20, 2010) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today acknowledged the second annual World Humanitarian Day, which takes place on August 19.

"This year, World Humanitarian Day falls during a time of crisis, as floods continue to devastate Pakistan," said Minister Oda. "The recent flooding serves as a reminder of the important role humanitarian workers play each and every day. Our Government is proud to work with humanitarian aid workers on the ground to ensure they are able to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to those who urgently need it."

On World Humanitarian Day, Canadians are encouraged to recognize the remarkable contributions and sacrifices that humanitarian workers from Canada and around the world make as they deliver aid. Every day, humanitarian workers suffer hardship and face potential danger as they work to alleviate suffering and meet the needs of the world's most vulnerable.

CIDA supports the humanitarian efforts of partner organizations, including the Red Cross Movement, the United Nations (UN), and many nongovernmental organizations, and applauds the work they do to provide needed food, emergency shelter, water and sanitation, emergency medical care and protection to affected populations, who are often in difficult-to-reach locations.

"This day offers an important opportunity to reflect on the significant strides that have been made to strengthen the international humanitarian system to better serve those in need and support those on the front line in the provision of humanitarian assistance," noted the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is presently at the UN to attend a Special Session of the General Assembly on the floods in Pakistan. "These professionals exemplify the principles of humanitarian aid: humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. I call on all governments to respect and facilitate the efforts of humanitarian workers everywhere."

"I'm proud the Canadian Forces are involved in 16 international missions that assist in securing peace and enabling humanitarian assistance," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Whether it be in Haiti, Afghanistan or elsewhere that the Government of Canada intervenes of behalf of those suffering, the Canadian Forces have a proven record of helping those in need."

The United Nations celebrates World Humanitarian Day on August 19 every year, to commemorate the 22 humanitarian workers killed in the bombing of the UN office in Iraq in 2003. This day recognizes that the dangers associated with humanitarian work have grown in recent years, with a dramatic increase in the number of aid workers who have become targets of violence, such as those killed in Afghanistan earlier this month. Canada's approach also includes advocating strongly for the safety and security of humanitarian workers, and for their full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, so that affected populations can receive timely and effective assistance. 

World Humanitarian Day allows us to give thanks, on behalf of all Canadians, to humanitarian aid workers. Their efforts are to be applauded.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Isabelle Bouchard
    Director of Communications
    819-953-6238
    Cell: 613-355-2465
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
    or
    Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Melissa Lantsman
    613-995-1851
    or
    Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
    613-995-1874