Why World Day of Remembrance?
Introducing the World Day in all languages:
Why World Day of Remembrance?
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is observed on the third Sunday of November each year by an increasing number of countries on every continent around the world. This day is dedicated to remembering the many millions killed or injured in road crashes and their families and communities, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police and medical professionals who daily deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury.
Why is there a need for this day?
Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent, traumatic events, the impact of which is long-lasting, often permanent. Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people from every corner of the world are added to the countless millions already suffering as the result of a road crash.
The burden of grief and distress experienced by this huge number of people is all the greater because many of the victims are young, because many of the crashes could and should have been prevented and because the response to road death and injury and to victims and families is often inadequate, unsympathetic, and inappropriate to the loss of life or quality of life.
This special Remembrance Day is intended to respond to the great need of road crash victims for public recognition of their loss and suffering (see Messages & Thoughts from victims).
This day has also become an important tool for governments and all those whose work involves crash prevention or response to the aftermath, since it offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous scale and impact of road deaths and injuries and the urgent need for concerted action to stop the carnage.
History of World Day
Road victims establish this day
From 1995, Road Victim Advocacy NGOs under the umbrella of the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims, FEVR, observed this Day (initiated by UK’s RoadPeace Founder in 1993) – first as European Day of Remembrance, but soon as World Day when NGOs from South Africa, Argentina and Israel, who were members of FEVR, also joined.
WHO and UN promote global recognition
In 2003, the World Health Organisation hosted a meeting of road victim advocacy NGOs and discussed UN recognition of the World Day.
The ongoing support by WHO and the call during the UN GA in 2004 for a global day on which to highlight the worldwide road casualty toll led to the endorsement of the World Day in UN Resolution 60/5, adopted by the General Assembly on 26 October 2005, as “the appropriate acknowledgement for victims of road traffic crashes and their families”. Member States and the international community are urged to recognize the World Day.
The Archives will demonstrate the rising numbers of observing countries each year, as will the World Day Facebook site (link from Homepage) and online research.
Politicians in many countries have already expressed support for the World Day in many diverse ways (see Official Recognition – Parliaments & Governments). On two continents – Europe and Africa – resolutions to observe the World Day were adopted in 2011 both by the European Parliament: point 12 on:
and the Conference of African Ministers of Transport: point 5, page 5 on:
In South America, Brazil has passed a law, with effect from 25th November 2010, establishing the 3rd Sunday of November as the ‘State Day of Remembrance’.
The response of governments around the world to the UN call for official recognition of the World Day of Remembrance will signal how seriously they treat the critical issue of road risk and road casualty reduction. Their commitment to this cause is being closely monitored by road crash victim and road safety advocacy NGOs alike.