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World Humanitarian Day 2012 - "People Helping People"

United Nations family and humanitarian partners in Geneva marking World Humanitarian Day on 21 August

Every day, in every corner of our world, humanitarians bring relief and hope to millions. They work in dangerous and difficult circumstances, often risking their lives, to help those who need them the most. On 21 August, the United Nations family and its humanitarian partners in Geneva come together at the Palais des Nations to pay tribute to them as part of World Humanitarian Day.

The General Assembly has designated 19 August, the day of the 2003 bombing targeting the United Nations in Iraq, as World Humanitarian Day to honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to help others. As the world’s ‘humanitarian capital’, Geneva provides a most appropriate platform for commemoration of the sacrifice of humanitarians and for reflection on ongoing humanitarian challenges.

This year, we also highlight the role and importance of journalists reporting from disaster and crisis areas.

16:00 – 17:30 Panel Discussion: The contribution of journalists in reporting on humanitarian situations (Room XX, Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room)

Moderated by Mr. Darius Rochebin, Radio et Télévision Suisse

With the participation of:

  • Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev,
    Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
  • Mr. António Guterres,
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Ms. Navi Pillay,
    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Mr. Peter Maurer,
    President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Mr. Raymond Bonner, former Foreign Correspondent for
    The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune
  • Mr. Christian Chesnot, Foreign Correspondent, Radio France
  • Ms. Gunilla von Hall, Foreign Correspondent,
    Svenska Dagbladet


17:40-17:50 Plaque unveiling: Unveiling of the repositioned plaque honouring those who died in the 19 August 2003 bombing targeting the United Nations in Iraq (Outside Room XIX)
  • Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Rashid Khalikov, Director, OCHA Geneva
  • Remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
  • Remarks by Mr. Jamshid Gaziyev, Member of the Executive Bureau of the Staff Coordinating Council

17:50-18:30 Photography exhibition: People helping People
(Exhibition Gallery, 3rd floor of E-building)
  • Members of the UN Music Club will be playing background music during the viewing of the exhibition, which will be followed by a ‘verre de l'amitié'


The panel discussion will be webcast live at www.un.org/webcast. There will be live tweeting from the event and you can submit suggested questions for the panellists via Twitter at #WHDGeneva.

Participants without a valid access badge for the Palais des Nations are invited to contact politicalaffairs@unog.ch.

The commemoration in Geneva is part of a global effort to recognize those who face danger and adversity to help others. The global campaign site allows everybody to share individual acts of good and aims to reach 1 billion people on one day with the single message of ‘People Helping People’.

Everybody is encouraged to help raise awareness about the plight of fellow human beings affected by humanitarian crises by registering, and by inviting family, friends and colleagues and family members to do the same between 1 and 19 August.

International star Beyoncé has donated her song ‘I was here’ to the cause. A special video of the song, recorded at the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters, will be released globally on 19 August to promote the campaign.