World Humanitarian Day - Celebrating the spirit and bravery of all those involved in humanitarian crises

19 august 2015


The Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations

 Press Statement
19 August 2015

World Humanitarian Day – Celebrating the spirit and bravery of all those involved in humanitarian crises

Today, on World Humanitarian Day, Dóchas, the umbrella group of Irish Non-Governmental Development Organisations, wishes to acknowledge the tremendous work and courage of all those affected by and working in humanitarian crises.

‘In recent weeks we have seen the tremendous work being carried out by the Lé Niamh and the Irish navy assisting in the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, but we must also pay tribute to all those aid workers who risk their lives around the world on an ongoing basis, going into dangerous situations in the name of humanitarian service. Today is a day to acknowledge their bravery and resilience. They too are heroes, as are the civilians who live through humanitarian crises and suffer great loss through conflict and natural disasters and who, at this very moment, are rebuilding their lives and communities. Today is a day for each and every person affected in this way,’ says Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas.  

World Humanitarian Day falls on August 19th, the day when, in 2003, 22 aid workers were killed in a bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. The theme for 2015 is: Inspiring the World’s Humanity. It is a day to pay tribute to all the people affected by humanitarian crises, but also to take inspiration from the courage and humanity shown by people all over the world. “In a world that is ever more digitally connected, each of us has the power and responsibility to inspire our fellow human beings to act to help others and create a more humane world.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Dóchas has established a website called so that members of the public can get involved and become informed about what Irish organisations are doing in humanitarian action worldwide.

Speaking on World Humanitarian Day, Director of Dóchas Hans Zomer says, ‘People can show their support in many ways by getting involved or by becoming a humanity messenger. You can do this even through social media. People are being asked to use the hashtag #sharehumanity to show their support for humanitarian action. Today is a day to stand in unity with all those affected by humanitarian crises. It’s the world’s way of saying – we really do care and we must all work together, because at the end of the day, what have we without humanity?’

Zomer continues, ‘Irish development organisations are making a big impact in the area of humanitarian action. Irish people have also proven very generous when it comes to donating and supporting this vital action to help vulnerable people to recover following natural disasters and conflict. We must ensure that we continue to support causes year round, as sometimes the spotlight fades on a particular situation as the world media moves on to something else, but the people involved in that crisis must not be forgotten about. At the moment 12.2 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance. It is vital the world continues to respond.’



Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the umbrella group of Irish Non-Governmental Development Organisations is available for interview.

Media Contact:To arrange interviews or for more information contact: Naomi Linehan, Media Officer for Dóchas and the European Year for Development: 01 405 3801/ 086 1077079

Notes to the Editor:

  • Dóchas is the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations. It provides a forum for consultation and cooperation between its members, and a platform for them to speak with a single voice on development issues. For more information, visit:
  • Dóchas membership is comprised of 61 overseas development and global justice organisations. A list of Dóchas members can be found at
  • The European Union helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters worldwide each year. Since 1992, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has provided assistance inn over 140 countries. In 2015, the EU launched the EU Aid Volunteers initiative which will provide some 18,400 volunteering opportunities over the next 7 years. Some 4,000 EU citizens will be deployed in the field to support humanitarian work around the world.
  • The Ipsos MRBI opinion poll key findings are available at: