Statement on World Humanitarian Day


August 19, 2023 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, today issued the following statement:

“On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, Canada expresses our gratitude and deep respect for those involved in the delivery of life-saving assistance around the world.

“It has been 20 years since a suicide bomb attack on the UN headquarters in Iraq killed 22 UN staff members. This year alone, 62 humanitarian workers have been killed in crises around the world. Despite the dangers, humanitarian workers strive to support people in vulnerable situations, no matter who they are or where they live, and they do so #NoMatterWhat.

“Humanitarian needs have reached tragic and historic heights; notably, 1 in 25 people require life-saving assistance. These needs are being driven by an increase in protracted conflicts and exacerbated by the climate crisis.

“In particular, this year saw the largest-ever number of food insecure people, at 345 million. A record number of people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, at 110 million.  And greater proportions of violence and intolerance are being directed at women, girls and members of minority communities.

“Despite these challenges, the humanitarian system has responded to the needs of millions across the world, including those living in countries experiencing crisis like Afghanistan, Haiti, Sudan and Ukraine. The system has also responded to sudden-onset emergencies, such as those that followed the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

“Canada is proud to support its humanitarian partners, including the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other non-governmental organizations, in delivering essential food and medicine and in providing health care and other assistance.

“However, we recognize that in many humanitarian crises, there is an increased risk of attacks and violence, affecting the safety and security of humanitarian workers and prolonging the suffering of vulnerable populations in need of life-saving assistance.

“This is why, today, we pay tribute to all humanitarian workers and honour those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. We are steadfast in our support for global efforts to protect the safety and security of humanitarian workers and call for principled humanitarian action that enables our partners to safely reach those most in need.

“In addition, we recognize that women represent a majority of humanitarian workers and that they are central to the resilience and survival of families and communities. We firmly support humanitarian action that empowers women and girls and defends their rights.

“In line with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada supports gender-responsive humanitarian action. We also support targeted interventions that directly address sexual and reproductive health and the prevention of and response to gender-based violence in emergencies.

“We recognize that our support would be ineffective without our partners, including the people on the ground who put their own lives at risk every day helping people in vulnerable situations. They are the brave humanitarian heroes we celebrate today.

“Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its humanitarian partners and with the people and communities most in need #NoMatterWhat.”


Emily Heffernan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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