Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on World Humanitarian Day

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
August 19, 2009


The United States welcomes the first observance of World Humanitarian Day and joins in honoring those who dedicate themselves to providing assistance to individuals and communities facing emergencies brought on by conflict and natural disasters.   These true, often unspoken, heroes make significant sacrifices and take dangerous risks, while keeping their eye unflinchingly on their purpose of bringing relief and hope to disaster-stricken corners of the globe.  They protect, feed, and rescue the vulnerable of the world.  They are an inspiration to us all.  

The United States notes with profound concern that these aid workers are facing increasing threats in the form of violent acts.  Many of them pay the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives while conducting selfless work.  We call upon all States and parties to give their highest attention to the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.

The United States is committed to helping those in crisis, and will continue to play a prominent role in supporting the life-saving humanitarian work of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. 

Six years ago, on August 19, 2003, the bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad took the lives of 22 UN staff members, including the UN’s Special Representative in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounded more than 150 others.  Today we remember and honor their sacrifice and the work of so many who face danger while working to bring hope and help to people and countries in need around the world. 


PRN: 2009/165