World Humanitarian Day has been commemorated each year on 19 August to mark the day when the United Nations’ headquarters in Iraq was targeted by a large terrorist truck bomb that killed 22 people.

This year’s event is focusing on the efforts of women who strengthen global humanitarian causes and their contributions to protecting international law.

“Violations of International Humanitarian Law continues to be one of the most important challenges for the protection of civilians, as well as the protection of humanitarian and medical workers,” the EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

“From supporting civilians caught up in crisis to addressing disease outbreaks, women humanitarians are on the front lines”, said UN chief António Guterres.

The attack on the UN Headquarters in Iraq 16 years ago marked a turning point in how the UN and aid groups operate in the field. In 2017, the EU mobilised more than €1.75 billion for humanitarian aid operations in over 80 countries around the world.