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6th Panafrican Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies opens in Algeria

09-09-2004 News Release 04/51

Geneva / Algiers (ICRC), 9 September - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is attending today's opening ceremony of the 6th Panafrican Conference of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Algerian capital, Algiers.

The conference, bringing together Red Cross and red Crescent Societies from across the continent, will address some of the key humanitarian issues affecting Africa such as HIV/AIDS, food security and public health.

The ICRC has been in active in Africa for 70 years and maintains a network of operational and regional delegations across the continent. During his opening address to the conference, the ICRC Vice-President, Professor Jacques Forster, highlighted the growing cooperation between the ICRC and African National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. According to Professor Forster, joint activities in countries such as Liberia, Algeria , Côte d'Ivoire, Uganda and Sudan clearly illustrate the importance of working together to help the victims of armed conflict.

The conference in Algiers will follow up on the humanitarian commitments made by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement at the last Panafrican conference in Ouagadougou four years ago which pinpointed HIV/AIDS, food security and public health as major problems facing the continent. For the ICRC, strengthening the capacity of African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to tackle these important problems remains a priority since HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and lack of appropriate health services continue to adversely affect the most vulnerable persons in conflict situations.

The current ideological radicalization around the world makes protecting and assisting conflict victims an increasingly complex task. According to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the humanitarian response to this challenge should be based on the principles of independence, impartiality an d neutrality

The 6th Panafrican conference serves as an important opportunity for dialogue and partnership. The ICRC is convinced that its results will strengthen efforts by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to address the needs of the most vulnerable in Africa. 

    

 For further information, please contact:  

 Mohamed Ben Ahmed, ICRC Tunis, tel. ++ 216 98 200 926  

 Marco Jimenez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 32 17  

 or visit the ICRC website: www.icrc.org