Secretary-General's Message

Every year on World Humanitarian Day, we shine a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict.

On this day, we also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need, and pay tribute to the government employees, and representatives of international organizations and agencies who risk their daily lives to provide humanitarian aid.

Despite our efforts, civilians, including medial and humanitarian workers continue to bear the brunt of intense conflicts around the world. They are attacked and their access obstructed, while humanitarian supplies and hospitals are looted by fighting parties.  In addition, in cities like Juba and Aleppo, housing, markets, schools and vital civilian infrastructure are destroyed.

In Yemen, a lethal cholera epidemic has killed more than 9,000 people. Health services and water and sanitation infrastructure are collapsing under the strain of war. 

In Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and elsewhere, thousands of women and girls urgently need protection, support and treatment for traumatic sexual violence and abuse.

The result of these crises is the record number of people – more than 65 million – forced to flee their homes from conflict.

No one is winning these wars. We are all losing.

This year, on World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations and our partners are calling on all global leaders to do everything in their power to protect people caught up in conflict. Let the world know: Civilians are Not A Target.

I invite you to stand with us in solidarity with civilians in conflict, and with the health and aid workers who risk their lives to help them. Get involved with our online campaign at worldhumantarianday.org.

On World Humanitarian Day, let us commit to doing everything in our power to protect women, girls, men and boys in the line of fire, and to give them hope of a better future.

António Guterres