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World Humanitarian Day - 19 August

11 years ago, during a mission in Afghanistan, we got the terrible news about the death in Bagdad of our friend Sergio Vieira de Mello. Our paths had crossed many times over the years, from Cambodia at the beginning of the eighties, when he was in charge of the HCR, to the ruins of Bosnia, and I have lasting memories of each of these encounters. In his memory and in order to honour all those who have lost their lives providing assistance to others, 19 August has been declared World Humanitarian Day. Groupe URD is committed to this day of remembrance and also to analyzing the key issues of the future: doctors contaminated by Ebola, humanitarian workers killed in Syria, health workers murdered while carrying out their job and Human Rights defenders who are “disappeared” or whose tortured bodies are eventually found.

Many challenges remain: Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Somalia, North Mali… all these places where humanitarian assistance is denied or where access remains difficult, unpredictable or impossible.
Our work on related areas remains relevant: war in cities in Syria, which is based on other research on humanitarian space, access and security in Somalia, in Chad, in Mali, or in Haïti, as well as on population displacement (view the special issue of Diplomatie review on Population displacement).

François Grunewald