Thursday, February 28, 2008


“This evening I am here to talk on behalf of the people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Do anyone here has seen a HIV positive person?
“If not, the person talking to you is a HIV positive one”.
Those are the words of Mr. Temo Sasau in his opening remark during the Solomon Islands Red Cross volunteers orientation on Thursday 21st February 2008 in Honiara.
Temo, a Fijian who diagnosed this killer disease in 2006 through heterosexual encounter visited our office to assist in a SI Red Cross organized volunteers orientation in dissemination of the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross.
According to Temo the first time he knew about his HIV status when he was very sick & admitted in Suva Hospital for nearly three months in 2007.
“During that time a distance used to be 15 minutes walk to work took me nearly 2 hours to reach there.
“I was so weak & had to rest & leant along posts or trees along my way.
“When I looked at myself in the mirror I thought it was a ghost I have seen. Because I lost 39 kg”, he said.
Now he takes antiretroviral tablets daily. He said to live on antirevtroviral is not easy because there is a special commitment one has to ensure he or she must not miss one consumption, otherwise it could all go back to zero in regard to the effectiveness of the drug.
When talking about people’s reaction to his HIV status he said has gone through suffering from discrimination and stigma even from some of his own family members. Because he had prepared to face such treatments he accepted them.
But the only thing he was worried about was his son (the one he loved the most & cared for alone since he was a baby) otherwise he would face the same fate as his father.
“But there were some accepted me & hugged me. And those are things we need.
“We are longing for love, respect, & acceptance.
“The first people I told them about my status were those from Red Cross. I trusted them because of their role in protecting human dignity & health regardless of what- they accepted me”, Temo commented.
Three important messages he put to people here are;
· Knowledge about HIV/AIDS is not enough. He knew about this sick since 1993. Temo said we need to add on by saying that those who are practicing to multiple sexual partners need to change their behavior to one partner for life.
· To married couples, when you have family problems among yourselves it is better to sort them out harmoniously. Broken marriages sometimes can lead to the situation where Temo is in.
“I got this sickness after my wife left me with a baby (Abraham) to care for, so I tried to find someone to be at home for us but I clicked on a wrong one”, he said.
His wife returned in November last year after she knew he had diagnosed the virus, to care for him and his son whom has been tested negative.
· To prevent the spreading of the HIV/AIDS starts from individual by practicing safer sex and help in fighting it. As leaders we need to inform people through awareness at all levels of society to know & unite to fight it.

This article has been authorized by the interviewee (Temo Sasau of Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation) while in Honiara for the Young Journalists workshop on February 2008.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First Aid team in Maluu for CBFA training

A SIRC First Aid team went to Maluu Red Cross sub branch to facilitate a Community Based First Aid (CBFA) training to the SIRC community members of the area.
As usual the CBFA trains community members to be self reliant in communities where a nearest health center is miles away. So the team led by Mr. Clement Manuri (National Red Cross First Aid instructor) will train the rural Maluu volunteers of the essential first aid skills to save casualties before attending him or her to a medical Practitioner or a nearest health center.
The team is expected to back in Honiara after the completion of the CBFA in Maluu.
However, if general public wants to know more about such community based First Aid trainings you can call Clement Manuri on phone 22682 or visit the SIRC National head offficer in New Chinatown or call in at our nearest branches in Auki, Gizo and Lata.

What are the provisions of humanitarian law governing use of the emblem (Red Cross/Red Crescent symbol)?

Extract from ICRC publication "International humanitarian law: answers to your questions"

The Geneva Conventions mention three emblems: the red cross, the red crescent and the red lion and sun, although only the first two are now being used.
The Conventions and their Additional Protocols contain several articles on the emblem. Among other things, they specify the use, size, purpose and placing of the emblem, the persons and property it protects, who can use it, what respect for the emblem entails and the penalties for misuse.
· In times of armed conflict, the emblem may be used as a protective device only by:
· armed forces medical services;
· National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies duly recognized and authorized by their governments to lend assistance to the medical services of armed forces; the National Societies may use the emblem for protective purposes only for those of their personnel and equipment assisting official medical services in wartime, provided that those personnel and equipment perform the same functions and only those functions and are subject to military law and regulations;
· civilian hospitals and other medical facilities recognized as such by the government and authorized to display the emblem for protective purposes (first-aid posts, ambulances, etc.);
· other voluntary relief agencies subject to the same conditions as National Societies: they must have government recognition and authorization, may use the emblem only for personnel and equipment allocated exclusively to medical services, and must be subject to military law and regulations.
International humanitarian law also specifies that each State party to the Geneva Conventions is required to take steps to prevent and punish misuse of the emblem in wartime and peacetime alike, and to enact a law on the protection of the emblem.

Use of the emblem

Use of the emblem for protective purposes is a visible manifestation of the protection accorded by the Geneva Conventions to medical personnel, units and transports.Use of the emblem for indicative purposes in wartime or in times of peace shows that a person or item of property has a link with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.The ICRC is entitled at all times to use the emblem for both protective and indicative purposes.

Misuse of the emblem

Any use not expressly authorized by IHL constitutes a misuse of the emblem. There are three types of misuse:
· imitation, meaning the use of a sign which, by its shape and/or colour, may cause confusion with the emblem;
· usurpation, i.e. the use of the emblem by bodies or persons not entitled to do so (commercial enterprises, pharmacists, private doctors, non-governmental organizations and ordinary individuals, etc.); if persons normally authorized to use the emblem fail to do so in accordance with the rules in the Conventions and Protocols, this also constitutes usurpation;
· perfidy, i.e. making use of the emblem in time of conflict to protect combatants or military equipment; perfidious use of the emblem is a war crime in both international and noninternational armed conflict.
Misuse of the emblem for protective purposes in time of war jeopardizes the system of protection set up by IHL.
Misuse of the emblem for indicative purposes undermines its image in the eyes of the public and consequently reduces its protective power in time of war.
The States party to the Geneva Conventions have undertaken to introduce penal measures for preventing and repressing misuse of the emblem in wartime and peacetime alike.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

First meeting for SIRC Volunteers Interim committee

Solomon Islands Red Cross volunteers interim committee met on February 12, 2008 to discuss coming activities for the local Red Cross volunteers at the National Headquarters.
According to Aloysius Erobaea (acting SIRC volunteers committee chairman) the agenda of the meeting that day included;
1. The Red Cross volunteers committee to look at a proposed program for an Orientation session for new and present SIRC volunteers which would be held on the Thursday 21st February 2008.
2. Discussion was also on how to inform the present volunteers and interest people from public who would like to attend that orientation session.
3. Formulated a small financial budget to cover transportation cost to drop volunteers/ potential volunteers at the meeting and a light refreshment after the session for those would attend the volunteers orientation session.
4. Discussed an initiative to draw up a volunteer 2008 action plan in relation to the volunteers support to SIRC programs and activities.
Mr. Aloysius said the need for 2008 volunteers action plan is to improve the organization and services of the volunteers.
Prior to the action plan, Mr. Niniu Oligao (SIRC Dissemination officer) suggested during the meeting there is a need for the committee to check with SIRC program officers on what planned activities they would need all volunteers to team to assist.
The interim volunteers committee consists of all volunteers elected towards the end of 2007. Its roles are to organize SIRC volunteers at the national headquarters to assist in programs and disaster response activities and as a focal point the SIRC Volunteers management can work with in decision makings, volunteers development initiatives and discussing matters concerning volunteers of the local Red Cross.
The Solomon Islands Red Cross volunteers committee and volunteers management would like to thank the hard working volunteers for their commitments and dedications to help the vulnerable communities in 2007. And they are looking forward for another year of teamwork and empowerments among the Red Cross people.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cooperation head completed visit to SIRC

Mr. Michael Oeke (head of Regional Cooperative mission of Red Cross) from Suva office went to Honiara for an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) coperative support towards the Dissemination of the International Humanitarian Law, Safer Access to affected people in armed conflicts, and the promotion of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's Fundamental Principles in the Solomon Islands.

According to this cooperative agreement objectives there are certain things expected to achieve at the end of 2008. These include, one, the internal target groups (governance, management, staff, and volunteers) should be strengthenened their corporate identity as well as the integrity of the organization through their understanding of the humanitarian values. Two, to regularly spread the messages about the humanitarian values and principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (through their generous actions and behavior)amongst the vulnerable groups which can contribute to the SI Red Cross acceptance at the community level. And thirdly, special priority targeted groups like Security forces, public authorities and youths are needed to be informed on the International Humanitarian Law to increase the national Red Cross' acceptance and credibility in conflict and social unrest situations.
According to Niniu Oligao, the SIRC Dissemination officer, the ICRC supports his programmes communication mechanisms like Quarterly Newsletter, Red Cross radio programmes, Poster Calendar, and soon TV advertisments to Honiara audiences.
Also his trainings and community awareness tours are supported under this cooperative agreement which Michael has come to Honiara for to be signed by the local Red Cross Secretary General.