World Humanitarian Day commemorates aid workers from around the world who have lost their lives in the line of duty. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the lifesaving work humanitarians carry out every day often in the face of danger and adversity, and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work.
In his official World Humanitarian Day address, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, says: “In a time of global challenges people and countries need to work together in common cause for peace, justice, dignity and development; that is the humanitarian spirit.”
This year, the UN is launching a campaign that asks people: ‘What do you think the world needs more of?’ This month-long project will literally turn words into action, where one word could become a reality for millions of people in need.
We asked three Australian organisations to fill in the blank: The world needs more …?
World Vision Australia says: the world needs more COMPASSION.
World Vision is working with refugees who have fled violence in Syria. More than 100,000 people have lost their lives since conflict erupted in 2011, and more than 6.8 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. The number of Syrians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries is estimated to be more than 2 million before the end of 2013.
“Humanitarian workers do what they do because they have a strong belief that the world should be better than it is, and they want to contribute to making it so,” World Vision Australia’s Head of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs, Anthea Spinks, says.
“As we remember those who have died in other conflicts while trying to deliver aid, we call on all parties to the conflict to immediately provide safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian organisations to provide assistance to children and their families affected by the conflict.”
CBM says: the world needs more INCLUSION.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a recent burst of violence led to the displacement of 800,000 people in the heavily populated North Kivu area. CBM is helping displaced persons with disabilities access relief provided by humanitarian aid agencies.
“Most of the time, people with disabilities and their families can’t escape the fighting with their belongings,” Gilbert Ogeto, an Occupational Therapist at an Internally Displaced People Camp in North Kivu, says. “When you have a high support need, the best case scenario is that someone helps you to escape, but it is more likely that you do not have time to take anything else with you, or even to think about it.”
Through his work at the camp, 99 persons with a disability have received a mobility aid. “It is an amazing feeling to spot the shiny eyes of someone who thought never to walk again make his first step with us,” he says.
TEAR Australia says: the world needs more JUSTICE.
TEAR Australia works in partnership with Christian agencies and organisations to respond to the needs of poor communities around the world, including areas that have been affected by conflict, natural disasters and famine.
“The scales of injustice which tip fairness away from the global poor are significantly impacted by the way we live our daily lives in Australia,” TEAR Australia’s National Director, Matthew Maury, says.
“I think that this is a biblical mandate that can be found throughout Scripture, with Micah 6:8 being the most commonly quoted expression of this call for justice: ‘He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’”