On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement today (19 August):
Today, World Humanitarian Day, is a day devoted to humanity. We honour the commitment of all those around the world who work to provide help and hope for people in need.
Over 100 million people across the world need humanitarian assistance. Some 60 million, half of them children, are fleeing their homes and require our protection. Countless individuals, through no fault of their own, have been dealt a sudden blow not only by conflicts but also by natural disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal or the severe flooding in Myanmar. Hoping to save their lives, they are forced to abandon their homes. It is almost inconceivable, but 40,000 people become displaced every single day.
Today we renew our commitment to humanity and to solidarity with our fellow human beings in need. Humanitarian assistance remains a fixed element of our ethical responsibility. That is why the Federal Foreign Office provides support for suffering people around the world tailored to their needs.
In 2009 19 August was declared World Humanitarian Day in order to recognise international humanitarian commitment and its principles. Aid workers who have lost their lives while alleviating suffering around the world are remembered. On 19 August 2003, 22 United Nations employees were killed in a bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.
In recent years the global need for humanitarian assistance has continued to increase, and the amount of funding provided has doubled since 2012, reaching 20 billion dollars in 2015. The number and scale of natural disasters is increasing around the world and complex political crises are becoming more frequent and often prolonged.
Within the German Government, responsibility for humanitarian assistance abroad lies with the Federal Foreign Office. According to the principle of subsidiarity, the German Government provides humanitarian aid where the government of a country hit by disaster is unable or unwilling to do so itself on a sufficient scale. In 2015, the Federal Foreign Office will spend over 400 million euros on responding to humanitarian crises around the world. The primary focuses here will be the humanitarian emergency in Syria and its neighbouring countries, the crises in Iraq and Ukraine, and the so-called forgotten crises in Africa.
The first World Humanitarian Summit will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23 and 24 May 2016.