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World Humanitarian Day


World Humanitarian Day

Dangerous work: UNHCR staff discuss the risks and frustrations they face each day to bring help to the neediest people.
19 August 2010
A UNHCR staff member helps a newly arrived Sudanese refugee woman at Touloum camp, near the Chadian border town of Tine.

GENEVA, Switzerland, August 19 (UNHCR) - Thursday marks an important occasion for the staff of UNHCR and all humanitarian workers. It is the day that militants detonated a massive truck bomb in Baghdad in 2003, killing 22 people including 18 UN staff members and injuring dozens more. Last year, the UN and other humanitarian organizations began honouring the anniversary as 'World Humanitarian Day' in order to recognize the contribution made by humanitarian workers worldwide.

Here at UNHCR, we spoke to a handful of our staff about their experience on the job. One story that we are publishing today, which is available here, reports on the unique challenges of working in Iraq and the broader Middle East. In another, which can be read here, Vincent Cochetel, who was kidnapped and held for nearly a year in Chechnya while serving as head of UNHCR's North Caucasus office in Vladikavkaz, discusses the ordeal and the lessons it holds for his colleagues in the field.

To learn more about World Humanitarian day, go here.

On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day 2010, a senior UNHCR staff member reflects on his experience being kidnapped near Chechnya in 1998.