UN Humanitarian Chief Marks World Humanitarian Day in Brazil

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 20 Aug 2013

(Rio de Janeiro, 20 August 2013): Valerie Amos today wrapped up a two-day visit to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where she took part in events led by the Minister of External Affairs, His Excellency Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, to observe World Humanitarian Day.

This year World Humanitarian Day had special significance in Brazil since 19 August marked the tenth anniversary of the attack on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 22 UN and aid agency workers, including Brazilian national Sérgio Vieira de Mello, then the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq.

“I was honoured to take part in a series of events that commemorated the humanitarian legacy of Sérgio Vieira de Mello,” said USG Valerie Amos. “Raising awareness of today’s crucial humanitarian issues, including the continued need for protection of civilians and aid workers, is one of the best ways we can pay tribute to those who have lost their lives while helping others and reflect the spirit of humanitarian work.”

On her second day in Rio, Ms. Amos visited Brazil’s Peacekeeping Training Centre (CCOPAB) to discuss humanitarian civil-military coordination. Brazil is currently contributing more than 1,700 men and women to United Nations peacekeeping operations. “Through training we can bring together military and humanitarian actors to better understand each other’s roles and responsibilities,” noted Valerie Amos. “This is vital in complex situations where civilians are caught in the middle of violent conflict and need protection.”

USG Amos visited the Babilon community and met families living there as well as the Civil Defense Sub-Secretary Colonel Marcio Moura Motta. “I was impressed by the positive results of community engagement and development in the Babilon community. People have better access to services and feel safer than before,” she said.

Ms. Amos also spoke to students and staff at Rio’s Pontifical Catholic University about the challenges facing the humanitarian community, including the need for a more inclusive humanitarian response system and the need to guard against the politicization of aid.

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