Red Cross Celebrates World Humanitarian Day

Story by Cincinnati-Dayton Region of the American Red Cross

How are you being a humanitarian this year?

World Humanitarian Day, designated by the United Nations in 2003, is recognized every year on August 19th to celebrate humanity and the spirit that inspires people to help others who are in need, even in difficult and dangerous situations, and often putting their own lives at risk.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent network that includes the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the American Red Cross and 186 other National Societies continues to provide humanitarian assistance for those in need around the globe as well as promote the well-being and safety for the volunteers committed to doing this work.

In Syria, thirty-seven Red Crescent volunteers have been killed while on duty since the beginning of the conflict. In the occupied Palestine territory, two volunteers from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society have been killed in the recent conflict and many more have been injured in the last months.

Many of these volunteers are young people – youth who are committed to saving lives by putting their own at risk every day. ICRC is also drawing attention to the fact that health-care personnel are often among the first to be attacked in war and other situations of violence (a complete report from ICRC regarding this issue can be found by clicking here).

As part of the Red Cross Movement, the American Red Cross Greater Cincinnati Dayton Region is responding to both local and international needs. Our local disaster volunteers respond to local emergencies and fires, assist with services to the armed forces, and provide many other program to meet our mission. In the International Services Department, we raise awareness and funds for Measles and Rubella Initiatives, educate the public about International Humanitarian Law, and work to reconnect families separated internationally by conflict, disaster, migration, and other humanitarian emergencies through the Restoring Family Links program.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is at the core of the global Red Cross network. It is critical for providing rules for how war is waged, including the protection of non-combatants. For more than twenty years, the American Red Cross has promoted IHL through its chapters. The Greater Cincinnati – Dayton Region has been selected for a third year to participate in the International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign 2015, along with eleven other chapters.

This year’s theme for World Humanitarian Day is “the world needs more ______”. Express what you think you can do this year to support the work of humanitarian workers near and far through social media with the hashtag #theworldneedsmore, and then work to change your words into action. Then learn how you can be a humanitarian with the American Red Cross and sign-up to volunteer.

For more information on the International Services Department at the Cincinnati-Dayton Region, please click here.