Monday, May 5, 2008

Together for Humanity

2-05-2008 Official Statement

A joint statement from the presidents of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the occasion of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day 2008.

Each year, World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, celebrated on 8 May, offers us an opportunity to call attention to the plight of people affected by disasters, armed conflict and other situations of violence, to take stock of the multiple challenges we face and to reaffirm our commitment to working together for humanity.

It is this aspect of togetherness – of people working towards a common goal of helping others – that enables us to make a true difference in the lives of the victims of catastrophes, hostilities, poverty and health crises.

Every day, we see the importance and impact of solidarity reflected in the work of our dedicated volunteers and staff around the globe – from disaster preparedness to restoring family links.

Whether they are evacuating residents ahead of a cyclone or reuniting children and parents torn apart by war, it is by working together that National Societies, the International Federation and the ICRC are able to offer protection, assistance, comfort and hope to those in need.

Working in partnership also means coordinating and collaborating with others, including governments, international organizations, the private sector and communities.

This enables us to respond more effectively to change and to adapt to complex humanitarian challenges, such as internal displacement, armed violence, international migration, emerging diseases, and humanitarian consequences of environmental degradation.

Next year, we will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino – a decisive moment in the Red Cross and Red Crescent's history. It was on the battlefield of Solferino that Henry Dunant, who was born on 8 May 1828, first reached out to help wounded soldiers and began to formulate a vision that would lead to the creation of the Movement.

As we look forward to commemorating this landmark event in 2009, we should remember that people – their safety, health, dignity and wellbeing – must be at the centre of everything we do and stand for.

Experience has shown us that cooperation and teamwork are essential to our ability to help others, so as we observe World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, let's also celebrate the strength that comes from working together for humanity.

Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro
President of the International Federation

Jakob Kellenberger
President of the ICRC