August 19th marks World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
United Nations agencies present in Iran celebrated the day with their key national partners and the media. This year the UN and its humanitarian counterparts launched a ground-breaking campaign called “The world needs more […Fill in the blank…].”
This is a first-of-its-kind project which allows people from around the globe to use the power of their words and turn them into aid and save lives.
Mr. Hamid Nazari, National Disaster Response Advisor for Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) opened the event by welcoming guests. Noting that the presence of partners during this event was a symbolic gesture which inspired common interest in partnership on humanitarian ground, Mr. Nazari commemorated an Iranian humanitarian worker named Reza Hosseini who was killed while serving the United Nations’ team in Iraq in 2003.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis underlined the reasons why the day was so important: “There is a special reason why we commemorate 19 August as our World Humanitarian Day. It was on this day – exactly 10 years ago – that Sérgio Vieira de Mello – the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq – and 21 of his team were tragically killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad in 2003,” said Mr. Lewis.
He praised all humanitarian workers – not just those working under the blue flag of the UN – but all those “who face danger day-in-day-out simply because they want to help those affected by either natural disasters or complex emergencies.”
“Iran is a country prone to natural disasters,” said Mr. Lewis. However, he stated that Iran had learned many lessons from the tragic earthquake in Bam in 2003. As a result, it has built a strong and increasingly-powerful capacity to respond to natural disasters.
Mr. Lewis thanked UN’s national partners: National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO), Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (IKRF), the Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) among others for their partnership and hard work.
Mr. Mohammad Hosseini, Director-General for International Affairs of the NDMO, emphasized the need to extend partnership for improving preventive measures in natural disaster management.
Mr. Saeed Matani Deputy for Planning of the Relief and Rescue Organization of IRCS took on the podium to deliver the message of Dr. Mohmoud Mozaffar, President of the Relief and Rescue Organization of IRCS. In his speech Mr. Mozafar had stated that he is “Extremely proud of the platform which has been provided with means to take strong and solid steps towards peace and humanity.”
Mr. Davood Karimi, Director for the Department of International Social Affairs of Ministry of Foerign Affairs express his Government’s utmost appreciation for the work performed by the UN humanitarian aid-workers all over the world.
During the event video clips containing messages from UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and Valerie Amos, the current UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator were shared with the audience. A clip from the IRCS was also screened.
In Memory of Fallen Heroes
Reza Hosseini (Iran), 43, had worked for the United Nations Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI) since April. His previous experience included a stint as the Chief of Operations for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in East Timor and as a Repatriation Officer with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Indonesia.
On August 19, 2003, Reza - along with 21 of his colleagues - was tragically killed in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
- Iran's Voices on World Humanitarian Day 2013
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative's statement at the World Humanitarian Day 2013 event in Iran.