For the attention of all National Societies: Today is the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day
Today, as every day, is Humanitarian Day. We pay tribute to all humanitarian workers and volunteers, including those within our International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, who are saving lives on the front lines. We are also mourning and commemorating those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. They continue to live in each of us, as we recommit ourselves to advancing the ideals for which they have given their lives.
Today, we recognize the countless others who have been injured, traumatized or threatened for working towards a higher purpose. We pay tribute to all Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers, who are making sacrifices for what they believe is right – standing for humanity and helping others.
Today, we celebrate the contribution our Movement has made to protecting lives and alleviating suffering of those living through conflict, natural disasters, poverty and hardship.
For more than 50 years, our Fundamental Principles – including our neutrality, independence and impartiality – have guided our efforts. They have inspired and motivated us, given us direction and provided protection. Our principles mean we can fulfil our humanitarian mission in some of the world’s most challenging and hard-to-reach places; that we are accountable first to those we serve, without favour or discrimination. Faced with increasingly complex and protracted humanitarian challenges, our neutrality is needed now more than ever. These principles ensure we are trusted, our voice is heard and our values are held high.
We are confronted by a world overshadowed by conflict, natural disasters and complex crises. No part of the globe is untouched. Our task, as it has always been, is to deliver for those in need.
First demonstrated on the battle fields of Solferino, our Fundamental Principles have become the shared ideals for humanitarians everywhere. We must urge ourselves to continue to take pride in and embody, adhere to and apply these principles in all our actions. They remain a compass that points to our shared humanity, decency and dignity.
Geneva, 19 August 2016
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Committee of the Red Cross